Al Mukalla: At least 100 Al Houthis have been killed over the past three days in fierce clashes with government forces or in air strikes by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets on the Red Sea battlefield, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said.
Fighting has raged outside the town of Al Jarrahi in the western province of Hodeida as government forces press to advance deeper into Al Houthis’ shrinking territory in the province. The ministry’s news site said coalition fighter jets carried out dozens of air sorties in Hodeida province, hitting Al Houthi gatherings and equipment and killing dozens of rebels, including field commanders.
The air strikes have paved the way for government forces on the ground to make headway in the province, and to lay siege on Al Jarrahi town. Military officials said six Al Houthi militants were arrested, and their armaments seized, when they launched a thwarted counter-attack east of Hays town.
Early last year, Yemen’s army, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched a major military offensive aimed at ousting Al Houthis from the country’s long western coast, and securing the strategic Bab Al Manbab Strait against Al Houthi missile attacks. The final destination of the offensive is the city of Hodeida, the last major coastal city under their control.
Government forces are now battling Al Houthis almost 80km south of Hodeida for the first time since the beginning of the current war in March 2015. Since earlier this year, government forces have had a series of major victories on the Red Sea front, taking control of Al Hays town and a military outpost.
Meanwhile, in the southern city of Taiz, fighting erupted on Monday and Tuesday when government forces countered many Al Houthi attacks on the western and eastern edges of Taiz. Several Al Houthis were killed.
In the northern province of Saada, Yemen’s army sappers have defused thousands of mines, unexploded ordnance and booby traps in liberated areas in Al Houthis’ heavily fortified bastion.
Yemen’s Defence Ministry said as many as 3,000 landmines have been cleared from 10km in liberated areas in Baqoum district, northern Saada. Local commanders say Al Houthis have planted thousands of landmines on the battlefield in Saada in a desperate move to slow down government forces’ push into their stronghold.
The Defence Ministry recently announced government troops had defused 4,000 landmines in Al Bouqa region, east of Saada. The Saudi-led coalition has sent sapper units and state-of-the-art devices to help clear a large swathe of land in Al Jawf, Hodeida and Saada of landmines and booby traps.