AL-MUKALLA: A Houthi bomb-maker described as one of the militia’s “most dangerous leaders” has been killed in fierce clashes in Yemen’s northern province of Hajjah, officials and media reports said.
Abdul Aziz Ahmed Al-Abed, a mechanical engineer known for making bombs and preparing locally made land mines, was among a number of Houthi fighters who died in fighting in Hajjah’s Haradh district.
Nasser Dagin, a pro-government deputy governor of Hajjah, described Al-Abed, who was born in the province, as “one of the most dangerous leaders,” and said he was responsible for manufacturing land mines, IEDs and bombs that claimed the lives of thousands of Yemenis.
Houthi mourners claimed that Al-Abed had taken part in many rounds of fighting between the movement and its opponents in Amran, Saada and Abyan over the past decade, and was among the fighters who stormed the Yemeni capital Sanaa in late 2014.
Yemeni officials believe that the Houthis have planted more than 1 million mines across the country, mainly in the battlefields in Jouf, Hodeidah, Marib and Shabwa.
Al-Abed’s death is a major blow to the Houthi militia, which has lost thousands of fighters, including high-ranking military leaders, in clashes with Yemeni government troops and the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen.
Houthi casualties have surged since the beginning of the year, when government troops, backed by coalition air cover and military logistics, launched an offensive to take control of Haradh district.
Funeral processions for dozens of Houthi fighters killed in action take place almost every day.
Al-Abed was killed as heavy fighting between government troops and the Houthis raged in the provinces of Marib and Hajjah.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said that army troops killed a number of Houthis fighters in the battle for a military location west of Marib.
Another group of Houthi fighters was reportedly killed during the army’s shelling of Al-Faleha, south of Marib.
Official media also said that the army’s heavy weapons, together with coalition warplanes, struck Houthi-controlled areas in Haradh.