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UAE forces takes out Al Houthi command centre in Yemen

Operation was also successful in giving critical air support to advancing government ground troops

Image Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE Armed Forces, taking part in the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, have destroyed a command and communication centre belonging to Iran-backed Al Houthi militants in the Hais district in Yemen.

The strategically-located centre was used to store weapons and ammunition and its destruction will severely disrupt communication among the militants who are stationed in different parts of the district.

The operation was also successful in giving critical air support to advancing government ground troops.

A precise air strike successfully took out a vehicle transporting ammunition and weapons for Al Houthi fighters.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition entered the Yemeni war in 2015 just months after an Al Houthi coup forced internationally-recognised Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of power.

He later was able to escape house arrest and flee to Aden where he temporarily shifted government headquarters.

Since then, the coalition has gained back 86 per cent of Yemeni territory but major population centres still remain under Al Houthi control.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of illegally smuggling weapons into Yemen to sustain Al Houthi war efforts.

One such Iranian-made ballistic missile was fired towards Riyadh last month.

Although it was intercepted, Riyadh called it an ‘act of war’.

The war has cost the lives of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.

The latest government push seeks to take advantage of cracks in the awkward Al Houthi alliance with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters.

Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.

In 2014, his forces allied with Al Houthi militia, despite the fact that as president he had gone to war with them.

There had been simmering tensions between the two awkward allies in past months that boiled over in December when Saleh suggested he would cooperate with Hadi — he was assassinated shortly after.

Since then senior members of Saleh’s party have either been executed or placed under house arrest by Al Houthis amid a draconion crackdown.

While most analysts say that Saleh’s slaying could give Al Houthis the upper hand in the short term, the broken alliance between Al Houthis and forces loyal to Saleh appears to be permanent, which will help the Yemeni government and its backers in the Saudi-led coalition weaken their grip on the country given the reduction in manpower.

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