Troops move against Al Houthis in central Yemen

Cairo: Yemeni army troops have further advanced against Al Houthis in the central province of Al Bayda, days after the start of a major offensive there against the Iran-aligned militiamen, field sources said on Monday.

Government forces have retaken control of a series of strategically important hilltops in the district of Al Malagim in the eastern section of Al Bayda, the sources told the Yemeni news portal Adan Al Ghad.

The advance followed fierce clashes with Al Houthi fighters in which they suffered heavy casualties and material losses, they added.

Earlier this week, the Yemeni army, supported by an air cover from an Arab coalition, unleashed an onslaught against Al Houthis in Al Bayda. Government loyalists have since made territorial gains against the rebels there.

The offensive is part of a multi-front campaign launched in recent weeks by the coalition-supported government forces against Al Houthis in different parts of Yemen.

A major front is the north-west province of Hajjah where government loyalists have pushed against the extremists.

The Yemeni army Sunday evening shot down a spy drone operated by Al Houthis over Hajjah’s district of Hayran, Al Arabiya reported Monday.

The drone, the latest in dozens sent by Al Houthis over the area, was flying over the army’s positions when it was downed, a military source said.

Government forces liberated Hayran last week. The area was part of territory seized by Al Houthis since they staged a coup against internationally recognised government in late 2014.

In March 2015, the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from its government against Al Houthis after the militants advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the country after their takeover of the capital Sana’a in September 2014.

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