Al Houthi rockets kill 5 civilians in Khokha

Al Mukalla: Rockets fired by Al Houthis have killed five civilians and injured several others in the Khokha region of Yemen’s western province of Hodeida, as government forces battled the militia on the outskirts of Hays town, local media and army commanders said.

Al Masdar Online, an independent news site, reported on Monday that three Katyusha rockets landed at a residential district in the town, killing two children, two women and a man. Residents were bracing for more attacks as the militias suffer heavy loses in the area.

Government forces, backed by massive air support and military advisers from the UAE, seized control of Khokha, a strategic region on the Red Sea, and a military camp nearby after fierce clashes with Al Houthis.

After failing to recapture the town, Al Houthis shelled Khokha, causing deaths and loss of property. Similarly, military commanders said government forces have combed large suburbs of Hays town for Al Houthi militants, who might be planning counterattacks. Heavy air strikes by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets and helicopters hit Al Houthi gatherings and military equipment on the outskirts of Hays, paving the way for government forces and coalition troops to storm the town.

If government forces seize Hays, it will be another major territorial gain in the current offensive on the Red Sea and would bring government forces closer to their ultimate goal, Hodeida city.

Taking advantage of the collapse of Al Houthis’ alliance with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, after which the militia killed him, government forces last week escalated military operations against Al Houthis on the Red Sea frontline. The aim is to take control of key coastal areas known as entry points for smuggled Iranian arms. Government forces are now battling Al Houthis in areas located almost 95km south of Hodeida.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Aden, the base of the internationally-recognised government, three Al Qaida militants were killed when elite counterterrorism forces raided their hideout on Monday night. Aden Security said in a statement that security forces besieged a house in Aden’s Cairo district after receiving information that “terrorist” elements were plotting attacks against military and government targets in Aden. To break the siege, the militants fired RPGs and gunfire at security forces, injuring three soldiers. One of the militants blew himself up as forces stormed the house. The security forces found a stash of arms and explosive materials including RPGs, anti-tank landmines, explosive belts and anti-tank missiles hidden in the house.

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