AL-MUKALLA: At least 100 Houthis have been killed in heavy fighting with Yemen government troops during the last 72 hours outside the central city of Marib, the Ministry of Defense said.
The Iran-backed Houthis recently mounted several large attacks on army troops and allied tribesmen defending Marib, in Al-Mashjah, Al-Kasarah, Jabal Murad and Rahabah, triggering fierce clashes that left dozens on both sides dead.
The fiercest clashes were reported in Al-Kasarah, west of Marib, where 23 Houthis were killed and many others wounded as warplanes from the Arab coalition destroyed three military vehicles, the ministry said in a statement.
It added that 11 Houthis were captured during fighting in Rahabah, south of Marib, as army and coalition warplanes targeted several Houthi military vehicles and military equipment.
Col. Yahiya Al-Hatemi, the military’s media director, told Arab News that at least 40 Houthis were killed in Al-Kasarah on Tuesday morning after government forces carried out a feint retreat and lured them into their position.
Government troops also scored gains west of Marib by liberating a swath of land in Malbouda, killing at least 23 fighters.
“The Houthis have suffered big casualties during the latest clashes and failed to make gains,” Al-Hatemi said.
Many government troops were also reportedly killed in the clashes.
The continuing escalation of military operations in Marib province by the Houthis began in February when the militia resumed an offensive to seize control of energy-rich Marib, the Yemeni government’s last bastion in the northern part of the country.
The Houthis have faced stiff resistance from army troops and local tribes amid intensive airstrikes by coalition warplanes.
Military officials say the Houthis have been drawn into a military quagmire in Marib that has largely eroded their numbers and firepower.
Rashad Al-Mekhlafi, a military official at Yemen’s Armed Forces Guidance Department, put the number of Houthi casualties during the last 72 hours at more than 800, noting that the militia’s elite units and many military leaders have perished in Marib province during the last eight months.
“The Houthi Hussein and Death Units and Rapid Intervention Forces have been killed during their offensive on Marib,” Al-Mekhlafi told Arab News. “The warplanes have targeted consecutive waves of Houthi fighters heading to the battlefields in Marib.”
To shore up the depleted Houthi forces, Iran has dispatched many military experts and fighters from its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iraq and Lebanon, Yemeni military officials said.
“The Revolutionary Guards have reinforced the Houthis and they are responsible for firing ballistic missiles and drones at targets inside and outside Yemen,” Al-Mekhlafi said.