People ride on a motorbike past a building destroyed during recent fighting in Yemen's southwestern city of Taiz March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Anees Mahyoub Image Credit: REUTERS

Al Mukalla: Humanitarian aid has begun trickling in to Taiz, Southern Yemen, days after government forces kicked Al Houthi fighters out of the western suburbs of the city.

Local government officials said yesterday that a large convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid were parked inside the liberated regions of the populous city on Tuesday. The trucks carried 20,000 food baskets sent from Saudi Arabia.

“Aid workers and government officials distributed the baskets on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Colonel Mansour Al Hassani, spokesperson for the Supreme Council of the National Army and Resistance, told Gulf News yesterday.

Al Houthis and rebellious army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh laid siege to the city last year, preventing vital medical and food supplies from reaching the city.

Last Friday, government forces broke the siege and took control of the western suburbs of the city including a road that connects the city with the port city of Aden. Al Hassani said more trucks were on their way to the city. “There are 4,500 oxygen cylinders heading to the city,” he said.

Militarily, army troops backed by resistance fighters mounted fresh attacks on Al Houthi positions on the eastern edges of the city. Al Hassani said that warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition yesterday carried out “accurate” air strikes on Al Houthi sites in the city, killing 50 Al Houthi fighters.

“There was a great air support on Wednesday which destroyed six tanks, (an) ammunition depot and (an) self-propelled artillery,” Al Hassani said. At the same time, the government could not break into an air-defence camp in the city despite aggressive air raids and ground attacks. “Al Houthis are hiding inside concrete trenches.”

Commenting on news about the arrival of armed vehicles from the city of Aden, Al Hassani said his fighters received pledges from the Aden-based government to ship modern arms and equipment to the city to clear out the remaining Al Houthi fighters.

In Aden, a local security official told Gulf News that three people apparently linked to Al Qaida were killed yesterday while preparing suicide bombers in a house in Dar Saad. “The leader was preparing two suicide bombers when one of them accidentally set off the explosive belt,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief media. The official said the recent military campaign in Aden’s Mansoura district had contributed to reducing drive-by shootings and deadly attacks.