Pro-government fighters gather near a tank in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen. Image Credit: REUTERS

Al Mukalla: Several people were killed on Tuesday in Yemen’s city of Taiz as the government forces edged towards pushing Al Houthis from more strategic locations on the eastern suburbs of the city, army commanders and residents said. Fighting flared in Taiz in the last three days when government forces launched an assault on Al Houthis and their military allies on the eastern sides of the city, attempting to break rebels’ siege that brought the city to the brink of starvation.

The government forces expelled Al Houthis from many districts and are fighting their way towards the remaining areas. The rebel forces responded by heavily shelling the city centre with mortar and canons. Medics said that a cannon shell exploded inside a house in Dhaban region on Tuesday, killing a man and his wife and left their critically injured children fighting for life at a local hospital, according to Sadeq Al Shoja’a, the head of field hospitals in Taiz.

Local army commanders said that the rebel forces who suffered defeats on the eastern edges of the city launched an attack on the western side where the entry point remained under the government control.

Colonel Mansour Al Hassani, Supreme Military Council spokesperson, told Gulf News that on Monday night the rebel forces attacked the government forces on Han mountain, unleashing heavy clashes that continued until Tuesday morning. “We pushed the Al Houthis back and killed many of their fighters.”

Al Hassani said his forces stormed an air defence brigade and many military locations in the city during their offensive.

The Saudi-led coalition carried out at least five air strikes on Tuesday hitting Al Houthi-held sites on the eastern and western outskirts of the city. Residents said they saw some Al Houthi military equipment on fire after the air strikes. Similarly, warplanes hit military bases controlled by Al Houthis in Sana’a and in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

In the northern province of Hajja, the army said dozens of Al Houthis were killed in the city of Medi in clashes with the government forces, or by the Saudi-led coalition warplanes.

Meanwhile, Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday appointed Major General Saleh Mohammad Toumes as commander of the 1st Military Region in Hadramout’s Seiyun, while Major General Fadhel Hassan was named commander of Aden-based 4th Military Region, replacing Major General Ahmad Sayef who was promoted to deputy chief of staff of army. Former minister of electricity, Saleh Hussein Samea was appointed governor of Mahwet province.