Yemeni and Saudi-led coalition troops in liberated areas in Saada. Image Credit: Saada

Al Mukalla: Yemeni government forces have recaptured new areas in Radman district in the central province of Baydha after heavy clashes with the Iran-backed Al Houthi militia, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said.

Backed by massive air and military logistics support from the Saudi-led coalition, Yemeni troops intensified an offensive against Al Houthi-held territories in Radman district, north of Baydha, with the aim of recapturing Qanea market that was fell to militia last week. The ministry said government forces seized control of Qanea market and neighbouring mountains and killed and injured dozens of Al Houthi militants. A video posted by the Defence Ministry showed dozens of army troops walking through Qanea market, celebrating victory against Al Houthis. Yemen’s army has seized large swathes of territories from Al Houthis in the province of Baydha since December when government forces pushed into Natea district, east of Baydha, shortly after liberating Bayhan district, Al Houthis’ last urban bastion in neighbouring Shawba province.

Abdullah Al Qaderi takes a selfie with Yemeni troops on Serwah battlefield in Mareb. The journalist was killed on Friday in Al Houthi shell attack in Baydha province.

In the northern province of Saada, Al Houthis’ main bastion, government troops announced moving into new areas in Ketaf district, northeast of Saada. Brigadier Obeid Bin Al Athela, the commander of Saada front, said government forces pushed Al Houthis from Al Farea mountain which put them closer to the centre of Ketaf district. Heavy air strikes by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets struck military equipment and militants who were heading to the Ketaf battlefield. In another major loss to Al Houthis, local media reported that Major General Yahiya Ali Mohammad Abdul Ghani, the commander of Al Houthis’ Brigade 105, was killed in clashes with government forces in contested areas in Saada province. Hundreds of Al Houthi military commanders have been killed on the battlefield in clashes with government forces or by the coalition’s fighter jets. Heavy fighting was also reported in Marib’s Serwah and different locations in Jawf and Taiz.

Thanks to massive support from the Saudi-led coalition, government forces have taken the offensive in the current raging fighting against Al Houthis and managed to reach the closest point to Saada city, the suspected hiding place of Al Houthi leader.

Also in Baydha, a journalist was killed and two of his colleagues were injured on Friday when a shell fired by Al Houthis ripped through their car in the liberated Qanea. Abdullah Al Qaderi, who works for Balqees TV, was critically injured when the shell burnt their car and died shortly after arriving at the hospital. His two colleagues are suffering from different degrees of injuries. The state-run Saba news agency reported that Yemen’s president, his deputy, the prime minister and the minister of information mourned the death of Al Qaderi, accusing Al Houthis deliberately targeting journalists who seek to expose their crimes.