Yemeni army advances in rebel bastion

Cairo: Yemeni government forces, supported by an Arab Saudi-led coalition, have advanced against Al Houthis in the Iran-aligned militants’ stronghold in the country’s north, military sources said on Friday.

The advances were reported in the province of Saada, a main stronghold of Al Houthis near the Saudi border.

Government forces gained further territory in Saada’s districts of Al Daher, Baqim and Kitaf, the sources told Al Arabiya.

Several brigades from the Yemeni army mounted a synchronised against Al Houthis in Baqim on the northern side of Saada, resulting in a push towards the centre of the district, they said.

The Saudi-led coalition also carried out a series of air strikes against military reinforcements called in by Al Houthis for the Saada frontlines.

The Iran-allied extremists have often used Saada as a launch pad for missiles fired towards Saudi Arabia.

Al Houthis plunged Yemen into a devastating war when they deposed the internationally recognised government and overran the capital Sana’a in late 2014.

The rebels have set up a so-called “government” and the self-styled Supreme Political Council to rule the country amid worsening humanitarian and economic conditions.

Nasser Baqzouz, a politician hailing from South Yemen, Friday said he had resigned as tourism minister in Al Houthis’ so-called Salvation Government.

He added he had quit due to threats from the militiamen.

Baqzouz said in a Facebook post that he had presented his resignation to the head of the ruling council based in Sana’a. “I’ve presented my resignation both verbally and in writing, but I haven’t received any reply,” he said. He added that he asked for protection from threats and for permission to leave the rebel-controlled Sana’a.

“I am not honoured to stay for one day in the Salvation Government and consider myself resigned.” There was no immediate comment from Al Houthis.

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