AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni army troops and allied tribesmen on Sunday seized control of new areas in the northern province of Jouf after heavy clashes with the Iran-backed Houthis, Yemen’s army spokesman told Arab News.
Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili said that government troops, backed by air cover from the Arab coalition warplanes, liberated a number of locations, mountains and desert areas after a new offensive by the Houthis east of Jouf that began on Saturday.
“The national army has taken control of a large swath of land in Al-Jadafer, east of Al-Hazem, and inflicted heavy blows to the Houthis,” Majili said, adding that the Arab coalition warplanes carried out several air raids in support of government troops on the ground.
State media broadcast a video showing the government’s armed vehicles attacking Houthi locations in a desert area in Jouf and later retrieving weapons abandoned by the Houthis.
The Yemeni army has been advancing in the province for months with the aim of seizing control of strategic locations, including the Labenat military base, which fell to the Houthis last year.
Yemeni army officers said that Sunday’s gains would help the army cut off supply lines to the Houthis east of Hazem.
In the neighboring Marib province, local officials and residents told Arab News that a woman and two children were killed and 28 others wounded in Marib when a missile fired by the Houthis hit a residential area housing displaced people.
On Sunday, one of three missiles that hit Marib exploded in Al-Rawada district, destroying a house.
Meanwhile, dozens of Houthis and government troops were killed in heavy clashes south and west of Marib province as the army pushed back Houthi attacks, Majili said.
The intense fighting on the ground is happening as coalition warplanes carry out dozens of airstrikes targeting Houthi military vehicles and key locations in Marib province.
Fighting in Aden’s Crater district subsided on Sunday after military forces loyal to the separatist Southern Transitional Council seized full control of the district following two nights of bloody clashes with a rival group.
Residents told Arab News on Sunday that security forces opened roads and set up checkpoints at the district’s entrances as businesses opened and people returned to the streets.
“The situation is calm now,” a resident who requested anonymity said.
Fighting broke out on Friday night between STC forces and a rival group commanded by Brig. Imam Al-Noubi, claiming the lives of at least five people, including a journalist, a local security official told Arab News on Sunday.
Images and videos circulating on social media show masked armed men, hiding in Crater’s narrow streets, exchanging gun and rocket fire with STC security forces.
Aden’s Security Committee earlier urged local residents to stay indoors as armed vehicles entered the district to restore peace and order.
Under the Riyadh Agreement designed to defuse tension in Aden between the STC and internationally recognized government, armed groups in Aden must be disarmed, united and merged into state security and military establishments.