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The New Arab Staff

Yemen’s army declares breakthrough in fighting against Houthis in Marib

Intense fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels is taking place in Marib [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2021

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Yemeni government forces say they have thwarted suicide attacks in Marib by Houthi rebels, while fighting is continuing in the city of Taiz.
Yemen's internationally recognised government announced that its armed forces on Thursday had thwarted Houthi suicide attacks in the province of Marib, while making limited progress on the eastern front in the city of Taiz, where fighting resumed on Tuesday.

Army forces and tribesmen were able to thwart a Houthi attack on the Al-Mashjaj front, west of Marib, which has been a major battlefield for three weeks, the government forces' media center said in a press release.

The fighting ended with at least 30 Houthi soldiers killed, while other Houthi fighters fled Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, which also targeted reinforcements on the same front, the statement said.

It added that the Yemeni government army's defences succeeded in shooting down an explosive drone belonging to the Houthi militia on the Sarwah front, west of Marib.

Marib has seen intense fighting since February 8, when the Houthis ramped up their ongoing offensive on the governorate. It is the last stronghold of the internationally recognised government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and aid organisations have warned that an attack on Marib city could worsen Yemen's dire humanitarian crisis. 

Read more: Why the battle for Marib could determine Yemen's future

Government forces meanwhile made progress on the eastern front of Taiz on Thursday.

Army spokesman Colonel Abdul Basit al-Bahr said government forces had fully secured Al-Hamad Street, enabling them to advance towards a key passage connecting Taiz and the Houthi-held Yemeni capital Sana'a.

"A major breakthrough was achieved by the forces of the 2nd Battalion of the 170th (Air Defense) Brigade on the eastern front of Taiz, as part of the ongoing military operation for the third day in a row," he tweeted.

The Houthis have accused government forces of shelling residential neighborhoods near the battle lines, saying that artillery firing killed one civilian and injured 10 others.

The Houthis acknowledged that six of their members had been killed in the fighting in Taiz, and were buried on Thursday.

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