Yemeni military leader killed by Houthis

Sanaa, March 28 (IANS) Yemen’s pro-government Defence Ministry announced that a high-ranking military commander was killed in the ongoing battles with the Houthi militia in the northeastern province of Marib.

The ministry said in a statement on Saturday that “General Ameen Al-Waeli, leader of the 6th Regional Military Command, was killed by the Houthi militia in Marib’s ongoing battles”, reports Xinhua news agency.

It said that Al-Waeli “was martyred while performing his patriotic and combat duty while leading the forces in the battles aimed at completing the liberation of the homeland and defeat the Iranian-backed in Marib”.

A local official confirmed to Xinhua that the Houthis have intensified their military operations and carried out a large overnight offensive against the pro-government forces in Marib.

A number of military officers of the government forces were killed with Al-Waeli during the same battles, according to the official.

Intense fighting erupted last month as the Houthis tried to advance towards Marib.

Hundreds were either killed or injured from both sides in the non-stop armed confrontations in Marib amid heavy airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

According to the UN, the violence has forced up to 15,000 people to flee their homes in Marib.

Roughly 60 per cent of the displaced are reportedly camping in informal settlements and crowded sites with services overstretched, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said earlier this month.

Yemen has been mired in a 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 Yemeni military conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi’s government.

Across Yemen, 20.7 million people need humanitarian assistance, many of them at the brink of starvation.

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