Yemeni minister denies report of Marib takeover by Houthis
On Sunday, AFP cited a military source which stated that the Houthis had captured the Al-Kassara area of Marib.
The source told the news agency that the Yemeni rebel group had taken control of the Kassara front with the battle moving to the Al-Mil area, just six kilometres from the centre of Marib.
Hours later, Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al-Eryani denied this report in a tweet thread as the battle for the strategic province continues.
"We deny mews published by Agence France Press on control of Iranian-backed Houthi militia over alKassara area northwest of Marib &express our deep regret that a global agency subjected to misinformation &promotion of unfounded news aim of raising morale of the collapsed militia," Al-Eryani tweeted.
"We confirm that National Army &Popular Resistance in Marib are steadfast in their positions on various fronts, confronting all suicide attacks &inflicting largest heavy human &material losses on terrorist Houthi militia, since the start of the war triggered by the coup."
He then caled on media outlets and news agencies "to observe credibility" and not fall for Houthi "propaganda".
The Houthis have attempted to seize Marib - the capital of an oil-rich region and the government's last significant pocket of territory in the north - since February.
The Houthi offensive on Marib has threatened to worsen the already severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The province is sheltering about a million Yemenis who have fled Houthi offensives elsewhere in the country.
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.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the exiled Hadi has been fighting the rebels since March 2015.
The war in Yemen has spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical shortages.
It has killed some 130,000 people, including fighters and civilians, according to a database project that tracks the violence.