Al Mukalla: Yemen government troops and allied resistance fighters stormed Bouqa market and surrounding mountains in the northern province of Saada in the latest string of territorial gains inside Al Houthi heartland, army commanders and top officials said on Saturday.
Hadi Tarshan, the governor of Saada, told Gulf News by telephone that government forces are heading towards completely liberating Bouqa district from Al Houthi fighters under heavy air support from Saudi-led coalition fighter jets.
“We took control of Bouqa main market and surrounding mountains,” Tarshan said.
Marching from the Saudi side of the border, government forces have made major headway in its advance on the Al Houthi stronghold which began some months ago.
Government forces seized control of two border crossings in October 2016 for the first time since the offensive on Al Houthis was launched in early 2015.
Land mines planted by Al Houthis are strewn across the rugged mountain terrain in Saida, posing a huge challenge and danger to advancing government forces.
Meanwhile, in the Marib province, Yemeni army spokesperson, Abdo Abdullah Majili, told Gulf News that the death toll of an Al Houthi rocket attack on the Kowfel camp mosque rose to 32 after several critically injured soldiers succumbed to their injuries on Saturday. At least 91 people were also injured in the Al Houthi attack during Friday prayers.
The blasts ripped through the mosque, causing the highest number of casualties among army troops in months.
Yemen president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi vowed to punish Al Houthi for the “heinous” crime and ordered his forces to be on heightened alert to foil any potential rebel attack.
Yemeni leaders have asked international rights bodies to condemn the terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, government forces have cleared out most of the Zahari region of Al Houthi snipers and the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighter jets have curbed Al Houthi militant reinforcements from tricking into the area.
And, in the battle outside of the capital Sana’a, dozens of Al Houthi militants and government forces have been killed in fierce clashes in the past few days in the Yam mountains.
Yemen’s army has recently advanced deep into the rugged Nehim district, reaching the edges of a village in Arhab district.
Coalition’s fighter jets on Friday struck military sites and suspected arms depots in Al Houthi-held Sana’a, triggering explosions.