Houthis attack Yemen government troops in besieged Taiz

Special Houthis attack Yemen government troops in besieged Taiz
Yemenis try to move a vehicle stuck on a damaged road that serves as a lifeline between Yemen’s third-largest city of Taiz, besieged by the Houthis, and the southern port of Aden, July 8, 2022. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 22 July 2022

Houthis attack Yemen government troops in besieged Taiz

Houthis attack Yemen government troops in besieged Taiz
  • Offensive reveals group’s ‘malicious intentions’ toward ceasefire, officer tells Arab News
  • The assault came as the UN Yemen envoy called on warring factions in the country to extend the truce beyond Aug. 2

AL-MUKALLA: Iran-backed Houthis on Thursday attacked Yemen government troops in the besieged city of Taiz for the second consecutive day, further violating a UN-brokered truce.

The assault came as the UN Yemen envoy called on warring factions in the country to extend the truce beyond Aug. 2.

Abdul Basit Al-Baher, a military officer in Taiz, told Arab News by telephone that the Houthis launched artillery fire and used heavy machine guns as well as cannons on government-controlled areas west of Taiz, before marching on foot toward key contested areas that overlook the western entrance of the city.

A government soldier was killed and four more were wounded in the fighting as government forces repelled the assault.

“The Houthis were seeking to control the Al-Dhabab road or surrounding areas that overlook it to block the remaining artery that links the city with other cities,” Al-Baher said.

“This indicates the militia’s malicious intentions toward the truce.”

On Wednesday, the Houthis launched another attack on government troops west of Taiz, using a road that they recently proposed opening as part of the truce to end their siege on the city.

The Houthi attacks on Taiz came as UN Yemen envoy Hans Grundberg urged Yemeni factions to strengthen, fully implement and renew the UN-brokered truce beyond Aug. 2, saying that fighting and civilian deaths had largely subsided during the truce despite confirmed reports of violations.

“An extended and expanded truce will increase the benefits to the Yemeni people. It will also provide a platform to build more confidence between the parties and start serious discussions on economic priorities, particularly on revenues and salaries, as well as security priorities, including a ceasefire,” Grundberg said in a statement, adding that the Houthis rejected his proposal on opening roads in Taiz.

Talks on opening roads in the city, a key element of the truce, stalled after the Houthis rejected proposals to end their siege, a move that prompted the Yemeni government to threaten to abandon the talks.

Similarly, government officials and international envoys to Yemen on Thursday called on the Houthis to comply with efforts to end the Taiz siege and adhere to the truce.

Yemen Foreign Minister Ahmed Awadh bin Mubarak said on Thursday that he discussed the Houthi obstruction of peace efforts, rejection of efforts to end the Taiz siege, as well as the militia’s assault on the village of Khubzah in Al-Bayda with Jean-Marie Safa, French ambassador to Yemen; and Gabriel Munuera Vinals, head of the EU delegation in Yemen.

The French ambassador called on the Houthis to denounce violence, end their siege of Taiz and engage in talks with the Yemeni government to discuss a peace settlement.

“France requires the Houthis to renounce the military option definitively, to put an end to the suffering they inflict on the Yemeni people all over the country, especially in Taiz by opening the roads, and to negotiate in good faith with the legitimate government to restore the peace in Yemen under the auspices of the UN,” the French ambassador said in a statement.