LONDON: The commander of Yemen’s special forces brigade, General Adel Al-Mosaabi, said that his troops took over control of the route connecting Maran and Al-Malahiz in the south-west of Saada province – the Houthi militias’ key area of support.
Al-Mosaabi said, in a statement published on the Yemeni army’s web page, that his units advanced to the road connecting the city of Saadah with the Al-Malahiz-Harad road junction.
The general declared that his forces succeeded, with air support from the Saudi-led Arab coalition, in cutting the Houthi militias’ supply lines to Harad and Al-Malahiz after a battle that cost the Houthis at least 12 dead and the destruction of several of their armored vehicles.
In Hodeidah, on Friday, the 'Amalika' army brigade announced that it has repelled a Houthi counter attack on Hodeidah airport. The statement posted on the brigade's web page said that the Iran backed Houthi militia tried to infiltrate the Yemeni army's lines at Hodeidah airport. The attack was thwarted, and a senior Houthi militia commander was captured.
Earlier, the Saudi-led Arab coalition spokesperson said Friday that military operations in Saada are picking up momentum.
Col. Turki Al-Maliki was speaking at a press conference in Brussels, where he added that the pace of military operations in Saada- the Iran backed Houthi militia’s stronghold, is moving rapidly, stressing that military operations in Saada have made progress and gained new territory from the Houthis.
Al-Maliki, who was in Belgium to hold talks with European officials on the situation in Yemen and aid delivery to the war-torn country, added that the coalition’s operations in Yemen are “aimed at pressuring the Houthi militias to accept the political solution,” and that “the safety of people in Yemen was the coalition’s top priority.”
Col. Turki Al-Maliki explained at the press conference that the Saudi-led coalition's control of Hodeidah will safeguard maritime navigation in the Bab Al-Mandab strait in the Red sea.
“The political diplomatic solution is always the best option for the Yemeni people,” he added, stating that the coalition was continuing its efforts to restore the legitimately elected government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in Yemen.
The Yemeni national army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched last week an operation to liberate Hodeidah and its strategic port from the Iran-backed Houthi militias.
Al-Maliki also accused the Houthis of using civilian residences as military fortifications. They have also imposed additional taxes on business owners to fund their war effort he said.
On the Humanitarian aid front, Col Al-Maliki said that the coalition has been using all possible ways to deliver medical and food aid to Hodeidah. “Aid is being delivered throughout Yemen without discrimination,” he said.
On the other hand, Al-Maliki said that the Houthis have arrested several human rights groups workers. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement Friday that civilians have been fleeing the combat zones in Hoddeidah province.
"More people are fleeing areas of conflict and seeking shelter in safer locations, including in the capital Sanaa," 150 kilometres (95 miles) to the northeast and also under Houthi control, the Humanitarian agency (OCHA) said in a statement.
It said some of the displaced had arrived in the capital but specific figures were not yet available.