Sanaa, Feb 14 (IANS) More than 80 people were killed due to continued intense armed confrontations between pro-government Yemeni forces and the Houthi militia over the past 24 hours in the country’s northeastern oil-rich province of Marib, according to local sources.
An official of Marib’s local authority told Xinhua news agency that on Saturday “scores of the Houthi rebels continued in launching a series of armed attacks on the government-controlled sites in Marib’s northwestern parts”, reports Xinhua news agency.
Units of the pro-government armed forces were engaged in intense armed confrontations with the Houthi attackers and attempted to repulse their offensive against the oil-rich province, the source said.
He explained that the Iran-backed Houthi militia mobilized hundreds of its fighters from other northern provinces in preparation for launching an all-out offensive to seize Marib.
Warplanes of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a number of airstrikes against the Houthi-controlled sites in Marib to support the government forces on-ground, according to the official.
An officer of the pro-government forces told Xinhua that “the Houthis are desperately trying to make progress towards Marib but their attacks were aborted by the government soldiers”.
The pro-government forces received reinforcements from the neighbouring Shabwa province and largely participated in repelling the Houthi attacks on Marib, he said anonymously.
Nearly 50 members of the Houthi rebel group and 30 pro-government soldiers were killed during the ongoing armed confrontations over the past 24 hours near Marib, according to local medical sources.
Escalation of fighting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels has displaced nearly 400 families in Marib.
The Iran-allied Houthi rebels stepped up their military operations and launched an large offensive to seize the oil-rich province of Marib controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.
Yemen has been mired in civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemen conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi’s government.
The war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million others, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.