AL-MUKALLA: At least 30 Houthis have been killed in heavy fighting with government forces in the past 48 hours in the mountainous Nehim district near the rebel-occupied city of Sanaa, as shells killed several civilians in the western city of Hodeida, Yemen’s Defense Ministry and local officials said.
Backed by Arab coalition warplanes, Yemen army troops and allied tribesmen on Sunday pushed back an offensive by the Iran-backed Houthis in Nehim and killed more than 30 rebels, the government’s Armed Forces Media Center said.
Houthis have been mounting attacks on government forces in Nehim in an attempt to push loyalists away from Sanaa and to advance toward the central city
of Marib. The government media center said that coalition warplanes targeted Houthi military reinforcements, destroying 10 military vehicles and killing several Houthis, which enabled government forces on the ground to repel the Houthi attack and secure new areas.
Coalition warplanes also destroyed five Houthi military vehicles in other contested locations in Nehim.
Fighting has been raging in Nehim since early this year as government troops push to make a major military breakthrough in the battlefield that has experienced military stalemate since 2016.
Hundreds of civilians have been forced into seeking refugee in Marib city after fleeing their homes and displacement camps in Nehim district and Marib province following Houthi territorial gains early this year.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that coalition warplanes carried out several airstrikes on Houthi military gatherings in Serwah, the last district under Houthi control in Marib, killing and injuring several Houthis and destroying their military equipment.
Four civilians were killed and 18 wounded when mortar shells hit Al-Zuhur neighborhood on Sunday in the Red Sea city of Hodeidah, the MSF international medical
“Twenty-two wounded were received today in the MSF-supported Al Salakhana hospital due to shelling attacks in Al-Zuhur neighborhood in Hodeidah city this afternoon. Our team performed six emergency surgeries and treated less severe injuries. 16 patients were children, one of them died,” the organization said on Twitter, urging warring factions in Yemen to avoid targeting residential areas.
“MSF condemns the attack and calls for urgent measures to ensure that civilians are protected in the ongoing conflict. We are deeply concerned that the majority
of victims of the shelling we received were children,” the organization said.
The Houthis swiftly blamed government forces for targeting the residential area in Hodeidah.
But a local army officer from the government-controlled side of the city told Arab News on Monday that the Houthis targeted the area with mortar shells.
Local organizations that document civilian deaths in Hodeida say that more than 500 civilians have been killed in Houthi shelling and land mines since late 2018 when the internationally recognized government and the Houthis signed the Stockholm Agreement that was designed to defuse hostilities in Hodeidah.
In the southern province of Abyan, a local government officer said on Monday that government troops sporadically exchanged heavy arms and mortar shells with separatists as the army continued to dispatch tanks, armored fighting vehicles and other equipment to Abyan ahead of a new offensive to push separatists out of Aden and neighboring provinces.
“We are determined to recapture Aden. This is a fateful battle,” the senior officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told Arab News.
On May 11, government troops, stationed in Abyan’s Shouqra, launched an offensive to push separatists out of Abyan and Aden after the separatist Southern Transitional Council declared self-rule in Aden and other southern provinces. On Sunday, media outlets affiliated with separatists broadcast footage of seized military vehicles reportedly abandoned by government troops.
The Aden-based national coronavirus committee reported on Sunday 13 cases in the provinces of Marib, Mahra, Abyan and Aden, bringing the total number of cases to 323, including 80 deaths and 14 recoveries.