Al Mukalla: At least 30 Al Houthi fighters were killed on Saturday and Sunday in fierce clashes in Nehim district, just outside Sana’a, while Saudi-led coalition fighter jets struck a convoy of senior rebel officials in Taiz, state-run media said on Sunday.
The Taiz strike killed dozens of fighters on Saturday, local activists and media reports said.
The Al Houthi-appointed governor of Taiz Abdu Al Janadi and senior Al Houthi field commander Abo Ali Al Ahakim, narrowly survived death while dozens of their guards were killed in the attack in the Burah region of the Magbanah district.
Al Janadi previously served as the spokesperson for ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party and Al Hakim is the Minister of Defence of the rebel group currently in charge of all military operations in the country.
In November 2014, the UN imposed sanctions on him for his vital role in orchestrating the Al Houthi takeover of Sana’a.
The Al Houthi-appointed deputy governor of Taiz, Ameen Haydan, was among those killed in the attack.
Meanwhile, just outside of Sana’a, the Ministry of Defence said dozens of Iran-backed rebel fighters were killed in rugged terrain in Nehim while they were trying to retrieve the body of their field commander from the battlefield.
The ministry’s official news site, 26sepnews.net, reported that Al Houthis sent a group of fighters on Sunday morning to bring back the body of Mutahar Al Ma’akhethi who was killed by government forces on Saturday night. The fighters were all killed before reaching the body of Al Ma’akhethi.
Fighting has been raging over the past week since government forces launched an offensive to break months of military impasse in Nehim’s rugged mountains.
Government forces backed by Saudi-led coalition air power and logistical support have since liberated several mountains and are now able to shell Al Houthi military sites in the neighbouring Arhab district.
Brigadier General Abdo Abdullah Majili, Yemen army spokesperson, told Gulf News on Sunday that government forces made limited gains in Nehim after taking control of Al Qanasen mountain.
Army commanders say current military operations outside Sana’a are led by Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, vice-president of Yemen and a powerful army general.