AL-MUKALLA: A surge in drone, missile and explosive-laden boat attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Houthi militia is seeking to pressure the Kingdom into stopping airstrikes that have killed dozens of their senior commanders in Yemen, Yemeni military officials and experts said on Tuesday.
The Arab coalition has announced intercepting explosive-laden drones and boats and ballistic missiles fired by the rebels at Saudi civilian and military targets in the Kingdom and Yemen.
Airstrikes by coalition warplanes have targeted senior Houthi commanders mainly in the central provinces of Marib and Al-Bayda, and in the northern province of Jawf. The Houthis also want to force the Kingdom to stop its massive military logistics with the Yemeni army, the experts said.
“The coalition (warplanes) targeted their fortifications, military equipment, trenches, gatherings, command rooms as well as military reinforcements,” Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesman, told Arab News.
He said that the Houthis had suffered heavy losses over the last couple of weeks as a result of counterattacks by government forces and allied tribesmen under heavy air cover from coalition warplanes.
Houthi official media broadcast images of long convoys carrying bodies of rebel fighters. Local military officers told Arab News that many of those Houthis were killed in smart airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition warplanes in Jawf and Marib.
The Houthis, after failing to make a major military breakthrough with ground assaults, have turned to attacking Saudi Arabia to end their rising death count.
“The Houthis suffered fatal blows and a huge depletion of fighters during the current raging battles,” Majili added.
Coalition warplanes have been credited for tilting the balance of the war in favor of government forces and curbing the Houthis’ military expansion.
Houthi deaths have risen since the militia’s push to take control of the central city of Marib in the last couple of months, one Yemeni army officer said.
“The Houthis put their entire eggs in Marib’s basket, it is a ‘To be or not to be’ battle for them,” Col. Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a Yemeni army spokesman in the southern city of Taiz, told Arab News. “The Houthis are hungry for money and resources so they keep escalating pressure on Marib. Due to land and air surveillance, the coalition’s airstrikes have become more precise and can locate and target Houthi commanders on the battlefields.”
The internationally recognized government of Yemen said that hundreds of attacks by Houthis in the western province of Hodeidah killed almost 100 civilians and wounded dozens of others in July, as the rebels continue to obstruct the movement of UN monitors.