Al Mukalla: Yemen government forces have made fresh territorial gain in their continuing offensive along the western coast by pushing Al Houthi militants from a small region close to Mokha town, army commanders said on Wednesday.

Yemeni forces have split up in two directions: one group have continued north towards Hodeidah while the other group is advancing south towards Taiz.

After days of intensive fighting with the Iran-backed rebels, government forces stormed Al Thoubani region in Taiz’s Mouza district as other forces battled Al Houthi snipers inside the Red Sea Al Zahari region, Abdo Abdullah Majili, a spokesperson for the Yemeni army, told Gulf News.

“The fighting is focused now around Khalid Bin Al Waleed military camp where pockets of Al Houthis refuse to surrender,” he said.

Yemen government forces backed by heavy air strikes from Saudi-led coalition fighter jets launched in January a massive military operation to eject Al Houthi militants and forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh from the western coast to cut off supplies of arms to rebels from Iran.

The last city to be liberated in Operation Golden Arrow is Hodeida.

In Taiz, ministry of defence said on Tuesday a leading Al Houthi operative and two of his associates were killed in clashes with government forces outside the city, adding that Saudi-led coalition fighter jets heavily pounded Al Houthi lines in Taiz, the western coast and Jawf.

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Hajja, explosive experts destroyed more than 5,000 landmines retrieved from former Al Houthi-controlled territories in the Medi and Haradh districts.

Since government forces gained the upper hand in the war with the help of coalition, Al Houthis have planted landmines in battlefields and deployed snipers in an attempt to thwart the advance.

Al Houthi landmines have been blamed for killing hundreds of civilians and military officers since early 2015.

In the Saudi capital, Yemen President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi thanked the new US administration for their support in fighting against Al Houthis, Al Qaida and other militant groups.

The official Saba news agency reported on Wednesday that Hadi discussed with US ambassador to Yemen, Matthew H. Tueller, ways to curb the flow of Iranian arms to Al Houthis.