More than 80 Houthis killed in Yemen's Marib, military says
More than 80 Houthi rebels were killed in Yemen's northern Marib province as the militia stepped up their offensive in the area, a Yemeni military official has said.
The rebels were killed in two days of intense fighting with Yemeni government troops as airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit flashpoint areas outside of the city of Marib, Saudi outlet Arab News reported.
The clashes occurred in Al-Kasara, Mashjah, Helan, Jabal Murad and Rahabah on Monday and Tuesday as hundreds of the rebels attacked government troops, with the aim of arriving at Marib city, the outlet said.
Colonel Yahiya Al-Hatemi, the director of government forces' military media, said in a statement to Arab News that the national army's artillery fire and Arab coalition warplanes carried out 43 air raids in Al-Kasarah and Rahabah over the past day, killed many of the fighters, destroying military equipment, before the rebels could reach Marib's battlefields.
"We counted the bodies of 81 dead [Houthi's]," his statement read.
Houthi-linked news channel Al-Masirah said that there had been 23 strikes on Marib province by the Arab coalition on Tuesday, but did not say how many people had been killed or injured.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels have in recent months intensified their attacks on oil-rich Marib, which is the final bastion of the internationally recognised government in north Yemen.
Hans Grundberg, the new UN envoy for Yemen, said on Friday that the Houthi rebels' offensive in the Marib province "must stop".
Yemen has been gripped by civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took control over many areas in the country's north, including the capital Sanaa.
A US-backed, Saudi-led coalition entered the war in 2015 to support the Yemeni government and restore President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to his position of power.