Top Houthi commander killed as fighting rages in Taiz

Top Houthi commander killed as fighting rages in Yemen's Taiz
2 min read
09 March, 2021
A spokesmen for Yemen's pro-government forces described Abu Asad as one of the highest-ranking and feared Houthi commanders in the region.
Taez has seen heavy clashes between pro-government forces and Houthi rebels [AFP]

A top Houthi commander was killed in southwest Yemen on Sunday during clashes with pro-government forces, Arabi21 report.

Abu Asad, literally meaning 'father of the lion', was killed along with scores of Yemen's Iran-backed rebels in the eastern front of the embattled city of Taiz, according to a spokesman for forces loyal to the internationally-recognised government.

Army spokesman Colonel Abdul Basit Al-Bahr described Abu Asad as one of the highest-ranking and feared Houthi commanders in the region.

His death comes as Yemen's Saudi-backed government forces are locked in heavy fighting with Houthis around Taez.

Pro-government fighters have wrested control of the city's Jabal Habashi district from the rebels, Yemeni media have reported, however the number of civilian casualties continues to rise.

Doctors without Borders reported that the charity has treated dozens wounded in recent clashes, including at its medical centre, Al-Thawra hospital.

Seven children were wounded in an alleged Houthi shelling hit a residential area in the city, according to the charity Save the Children, who warned of an "unacceptable increase in civilian casualties".

Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, has been besieged for years by the Houthis. The group has also continued to escalate their offensive on the government's last northern stronghold of Marib.

On Saturday, fierce fighting between pro-government forces and the rebels in oil-rich Marib reportedly killed at least 90 fighters on both sides over 24 hours.

Houthi insurgents have also intensified cross-border drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, which leads the coalition backing the government. Riyadh have intercepted the attacks and responded with punishing airstrikes on the rebel-controlled capital of Sanaa.

Read more: Saudi-led coalition jets pound Yemen capital after Houthi strikes

The escalation comes as Washington resumes efforts for a resolution to the grinding conflict, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, according to international organisations.

The UN had warned of a "death sentence" against the impoverished country after a donor conference last week yielded less than half the funds needed to prevent a devastating famine.

It appealed for $3.85 billion to pay for urgently needed aid, but just $1.7 billion was offered at the virtual pledging conference.

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