Dozens killed near Sanaa as army targets rebel supply lines

A Yemeni fighter loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fires from a tank during clashes with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the city of Taez. (AFP)
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Updated 24 January 2020

Dozens killed near Sanaa as army targets rebel supply lines

  • Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesperson, told Arab News on Thursday that a large number of Houthis were killed after army troops resumed an offensive

AL-MUKALLA: Dozens of Houthi militia fighters and loyalist soldiers have been killed in heavy fighting outside the rebel-controlled Yemeni city of Sanaa, local army commanders said.

Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesperson, told Arab News on Thursday that a large number of Houthis were killed after army troops resumed an offensive aimed at cutting supply lines and expelling rebel fighters from the city.

“The national army is making major territorial gains on the battlefield. Dozens of Houthi militia fighters have been killed and the national army soldiers are counting the dead,” Majili said by telephone from the city of Marib.

A number of loyalist troops had died in fighting to seize control of several mountain locations in Nehim, he added.

Clashes intensified outside Sanaa on Sunday, a day after a drone and missile strike killed more that 110 government soldiers at a mosque near a military training camp. The army vowed to punish Houthis for the deadly attack.

Nehim is the closest battlefield to Sanaa, but there have been no major territorial gains since 2016 when government forces pushed deeper into Houthi areas and seized control of the Faradhat Nehim military base.

Military commanders say the difficut terrain and thousands of land mines planted by rebels have slowed their advance. 

Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out dozens of airstrikes on Houthi military sites and reinforcements.

“There is a great air support and soldiers’ morale is high,” Majili said.

State television showed footage on Wednesday night of smoke billowing from mountainous areas as tanks and anti-aircraft guns shelled Houthi militants. Government soldiers were also seen storming Houthi outposts. Heavy fighting also broke out in Jawf, Marib’s Serwah and other locations in northern Yemen on Wednesday and Thursday.

In Marib, Yemen’s minister of interior on Wednesday said that a cell linked to the Houthis that gathered information about military movements in the city had been dismantled.

Two Houthi groups are believed to have been responsible for sending the location of the military training site in Marib that was shelled by Houthis on Saturday.

Thousands of government troops and Saudi-led military training officers have been based in Marib since 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition intervened in support of the government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

A mother and child were killed on Wednesday when a Houthi missile ripped through their house in the city. Coalition air defenses in Marib have intercepted dozens of Houthi missiles aimed at military bases and residential areas in the past the past four years.


Egypt sets virus vaccine target

Updated 52 min 29 sec ago

Egypt sets virus vaccine target

  • Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days

CAIRO: Assistant Health Minister and Coordinator of the Anti-COVID-19 Scientific Committee Ihab Kamal said that 842 people have volunteered in just one week to take part in Egypt’s coronavirus vaccine trials.

About 332 have been admitted in accordance with the health ministry’s requirements, which include being free from chronic disease.

Kamal said: “The number of volunteers until now is not low. We are working on raising the awareness of the citizens through various media platforms on the importance of the vaccine tests.” He added that the required number of volunteers is 6000.

He said the first two phases of the vaccine tests are complete and the third phase has begun. He added that volunteers are called for 21 days, pointing out that volunteers take a second dose in case they do not suffer any side effects. Kamal said the blood’s antibodies are measured throughout the year as part of the program.

Egyptian Minister of Health Hala Zayed announced on Thursday that she had launched the third and final phase of clinical trials on two vaccines developed by Egypt. She said the results of the two vaccine trials are positive so far.

Sources said that the Ministry of Health and the three centers taking part in the trials have received many applications. However, many of the applicants do not match the prerequisites, and therefore only 335 were accepted for the trials.

Zayed said in a press conference in Cairo that the current phase targets the participation of 6000 Egyptians. She said there are three places allocated for clinical trials.

Volunteers will be closely monitored in order to take a second dose after 21 days. After 45 days of the first dose, antibodies produced by the vaccine are measured to test their efficiency, Zayed said.

She said that national medical committees have been formed from civil and military bodies representing Egypt’s best medical experts.

She added that a committee will oversee conducting the clinical trials and that two vaccines out of seven have reached the third phase of clinical trials.

Zayed said that the first phase of the two vaccines included a test on a small group of 10 to 20 people with the aim of ensuring safety and also determining an appropriate dose. About 200 people took part in the second phase.

The third phase aimed included trials on 45,000 people from around the world, including 6,000 Egyptians.

The Ministry of Health and the company responsible for conducting the clinical trials explained the conditions that volunteers must follow to be eligible for tests.

They include an age bracket from 18 to 60 years old according to health condition. Registration must also be carried out using official documents. Volunteers must reside in Egypt or have valid residency documents during the trial period. Moreover, volunteers must sign an “informed consent” form prior to taking part in the trial.

There are a number of health conditions that prevent volunteers from taking part in the trials, including suffering from the symptoms of fever, dry cough, exhaustion and gonorrhea during the 14 days that precede the tests.