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70 dead as fighting intensifies in Yemen's Marib Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

70 dead as fighting intensifies in Yemen's Marib

The Houthis have been trying to seize oil-rich Marib since February [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2021

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The fighting between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels for the strategic city of Marib in Yeman has cost 70 lives in the last day.

Fierce fighting for Yemen's strategic city of Marib has killed 70 pro-government and Houthi rebel fighters over the past 24 hours, loyalist military officials said Sunday.

The Houthis have been trying to seize oil-rich Marib, the government's last significant pocket of territory in the north, since February.

Two officials from pro-government forces told AFP that battles are raging on three fronts outside Marib city as the Houthis mount a concerted push.

The new toll comes after officials on Saturday announced 53 killed on both sides.

The 70 dead included 26 members of the pro-government forces and 44 from Houthi ranks, they said. The rebels rarely disclose their losses.

Read also: Yemen: Saudi ceasefire proposal clearly designed to appease the US

One of the officials said that the rebels "are launching simultaneous attacks" in the areas of Kassara and Al-Mashjah, northwest of the city, and Jabal Murad in the south.

"They have made progress on the Kassara and Al-Mashjah fronts, but they have been thwarted on the Jabal Murad front," he told AFP.

The other official said that warplanes from the Saudi-led military coalition, which entered the Yemen conflict to support the government in 2015, launched airstrikes that "destroyed 12 Houthi military vehicles, including four tanks and a cannon".

The Iran-backed rebels in late 2014 overran the capital Sanaa, 120 kilometres to the west of Marib, along with much of northern Yemen.

The loss of Marib would be a heavy blow for the Yemeni government, currently based in the southern city of Aden, and for its Saudi backers.

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