Al Mukalla: Yemeni government forces have arrested dozens of Iran-backed Al Houthi militants as explosive experts defuse thousands of landmines from recently-liberated areas in the province of Hodeida, a field commander on the Red Sea front told Gulf News on Monday.
Abu Zara’a Al Mouhrrami said that government forces paused their advances in the western province to allow explosive experts clear the area and soldiers to comb for Al Houthi militants who might still be hiding out in farms.
“We are capturing dozens of Al Houthis every day. We have found bombs and landmines plants hidden inside farms,” Al Mouhrrami said by telephone from the battlefield.
Backed by intensive air cover from the Saudi-led coalition, government forces have recently scored a key victory by crossing into the province of Hodeida for the first time since the beginning of the current raging war against Al Houthis in March 2015.
Within a couple of weeks, government forces liberated a military camp, Khokha region and a number of small villages, south of the city of Hodeida, the final destination of the current offensive.
Al Mouhrrami said that his forces are working on securing their positions on the Red Sea areas and would resume their offensive after making sure that Al Houthis are completely pushed out of liberated areas.
“The recent gains have caused a loss of morale within Al Houthis. Their lines are crumbling.”
Intensive bombardment by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets paved the way for the ground forces to advance as they strike Al Houthi military reinforcements to the battlefield.
In the city of Hodeida, local media reports said that precision-guided air strikes hit Al Houths military pockets and equipment that was being gathered to use against the approaching Yemeni forces.
Al Masdar Online, an independent news site, reported that a missile fired by a coalition fighter jet killed four Al Houthi militants near a football stadium in the city centre.
The militants’ bodies were completely burnt, residents told the news site.
Another air strike hit a gathering of Al Houthis, killing seven and injuring several others in Jarahi town, south of Hodeida.
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Shabwa, army troops and allied tribesmen liberated a strategic mountain in Ouslen district where Al Houthis fighters, who fled their remaining urban bastions in the province, were hiding.
Yemen’s Defence Ministry also said that government forces stormed a number of hilly positions on Taiz and Sana’a’s Nehim district.