Government forces take control of villages close to Abu Musa Al Ash’ari army camp
Al Mukalla: Yemen’s government forces have continued to advance on the country’s western coast after pushing Al Houthis from a few small villages in Khokha district in Hodeida province.
Army commanders said on Saturday that government forces took control of villages close to Abu Musa Al Ash’ari army camp as military explosives experts defused a large number of landmines planted by Al Houthis, who took shelter in the mountains and in other territories in the province.
Government forces on Tuesday broke a months-long military stalemate on the Red Sea coast by booting out Al Houthi militants from a strategic mountain, and a road that links Hodeida city to the southern city of Aden.
On Thursday, government forces liberated Khokha, the first major urban region in the province of Hodeida after killing and injuring dozens of Al Houthi militants in the fighting.
The current offensive in Hodeida started earlier this year and was designed to cut off major smuggling routes from the Red Sea, from where Al Houthis were brining in supplies of Iranian arms. As fighting raged on Saturday, the government in Aden sent military reinforcements to the battlefield in Hodeida. A long convoy of armed vehicles was seen on Friday heading to government-controlled territories in Hodeida province. Government forces are now almost 100 kilometres from Hodeida city, the last major coastal city under Al Houthi occupation. Local commanders said on Saturday that fighter jets and helicopters from the Saudi-led coalition targeted an Al Houthi gathering in the Red Sea region.
Meanwhile, in Nehim district, just outside of Al Houthi-held Sana’a, a field commander belonging to the militia and several of his associates were killed in fighting with government forces. Zakaria Al Houthi, the brother Mohammad Ali Al Houthi of Al Houthi Popular Committees, was killed in the fighting on Thursday, and militants failed to retrieve his body. “Government forces have retrieved his body and kept it at Marib hospital,” an aide to the governor of Marib told Gulf News on Saturday. Dozens of other Al Houthi leaders have been killed in fighting raging across Yemen.
When the late former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who switched sides and vowed to open a new page with Saudi-led coalition, was fighting off Al Houthis in Sana’a last week, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered his forces stationed in Marib province to march towards Sana’a through new routes. After Al Houthi ruthlessly killed Saleh, Hadi urged military officers inside Al Houthi-held territories to rise up against the militia.