AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has repeated accusations about the Houthis serving Iran’s agendas by fueling a "futile" war in Yemen, the official Saba news agency reported.
In a telephone conversation with the governor of Marib, Sultan Al-Arada, and the defense minister, Mohammed Al-Maqdishi, Hadi hailed army troops and allied tribesmen who have pushed back Houthi attacks on the central city of Marib and other areas in Yemen — and vowed to foil Iran’s plots against the country.
The Yemeni president said that the Houthis had dispatched thousands of "deceived" fighters to Marib and other contested areas, fueling a war that only served the agendas of their masters in Tehran.
According to Saba, Hadi thanked the Arab coalition for the military support to government troops, ordering army commanders to join forces to thwart Houthi attempts to seize control of new areas in Taiz, Jawf, Marib, Al-Bayda, Sanaa, Dhale and other contested locations.
Hadi’s repeated commitments to challenge the Iran-backed Houthis came as his forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition’s air cover and military logistics, engaged in heavy battles with the rebels in the province of Marib.
Despite local and international calls to cease their attack on the densely populated Marib, the Houthis have sent thousands of fighters to the province over the past couple of weeks in an attempt to defeat government forces that have pushed them back, Yemeni officials say.
Rights groups fear that the Houthi invasion of Marib could trigger a huge humanitarian crisis and displacement since the city hosts more than a million people who have fled Houthi occupation of their home provinces.
Yemen is still reeling from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis caused by Houthi military expansions since late 2014.
Yemen’s army website reported on Friday that more than 3,000 Houthis, including senior commanders, were killed or wounded, in addition to losing 150 military vehicles and tanks and drones last month.
The army’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Sagheer bin Aziz, said that military operations against the Houthis would continue until the rebels were driven from the areas under their control, including the capital, Sanaa.
Inspecting battlefields in the northern province of Jawf, the chief of staff vowed to defeat the Houthis, saying the army and tribesmen had scored large victories.
On Friday, the army announced the seizing of control of a strategic mountain north of Houthi-controlled Hazem, the capital of Jawf, and the besieged Labenat military base in the province.
Yemeni Army’s spokesperson, Abdullah Abdu Majili, said that the continuing battles against the Houthis in Jawf, Al-Bayda and Marib had greatly diminished Houthi manpower and equipment, adding that Arab coalition warplanes played a role in paving the way for government forces to advance on the ground.
In Marib, hundreds of people on Friday attended the funeral of Roubesh Wahban, a member of parliament who was killed in fighting with the Houthis in Marib province.