Al Mukalla: Bloody clashes broke out between the government forces and Al Houthis on many fronts across Yemen as the government loyalists push to fully break the rebels’ siege on Yemen’s third largest city, local army commanders and allied tribal leaders said on Tuesday.

In the southern city of Taiz, army commanders said that as many as 18 Al Houthis were killed in clashes with the government forces in many battlefields, mainly on the eastern edges of the city.

Colonel Mansour Al Hassani, a spokesperson for the Supreme Military Council in Taiz, told Gulf News on Tuesday that the rebel forces launched several consecutive attacks on the government forces on the eastern and western suburbs of the city to push them to retreat.

“The national army soldiers and the resistance pushed back their offensives after inflicting heavy loses on them,” he said, adding that the government forces are determined to finish the second phase of the current military operation aimed at ending Al Houthis’ siege on the densely populated city. “We have foiled all of their attempts to make headway in the city. We are more determined to liberate the entire city from Al Houthi militia,” Al Hassani said.

Despite more than a year of heavy shelling on the city, Al Houthis and their allied army units loyal to the ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh have failed to advance into downtown Taiz after facing stiff resistance from the government loyalists. Local and right groups have blamed Al Houthi shelling and the siege for the death of hundreds of civilians and bringing thousands of others who are still trapped inside the city to the brink of famine. In August, government forces partially broke the siege from the western side of the city and secured a vital road that connects the city with the southern port city of Aden.

In the province of Marib, Ahmad Al Shalef, the commander of pro-government tribesmen in Serwah, told Gulf News on Tuesday that army soldiers and the tribesmen battled Al Houthis on Monday as they launched an attack to recapture a strategic hilltop that overlooks Serwah’s airport. “We have taken to the defensive as to maintain recent territorial gains in the district. We forced Al Houthis to retreat after they suffered heavy losses,” Al Shalef said.

In Aden, a security committee assigned by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to investigate Saturday’s deadly attack on a gathering of young recruits visited on Tuesday the site of the attack in Khour Maksar district. Senior officials were seen inspecting the area and quizzing witnesses. The committee is expected to release its report by early next week.