Al Mukalla: Two civilians were killed and a woman wounded in Hodeida’s Hays town in western Yemen when a mortar shell fired by the Iran-backed Al Houthis hit their house, residents and local media reports said.
Al Houthi militiamen, who still control mountainous areas and farms outside Hays, shelled the government-controlled town on Sunday. A mortar landed on the house of Ali Mohammad Shehab, killing his wife, 60, and his granddaughter, 16, and injured another woman, Al Masdar Online, an independent news site, reported.
Government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, seized control of Hays and neighbouring areas in February and pushed deeper into Al Houthis’ shrinking territories in Hodeida province. Hundreds of displaced people who left their homes during the fighting returned to the town when loyalists declared victory and cleared landmines. But local military commanders say Al Houthis repeatedly sneak into dense farms outside Hays to shell the town. On Saturday, a mortar round fired by Al Houthis hit a residential area in Hays, killing four civilians and injuring nine others. The town will remain vulnerable to Al Houthi shelling until government forces oust them from neighbouring Al Jarrahi and mountainous locations, military analysts say.
The town will remain vulnerable to Al Houthi shelling until government forces oust them from neighbouring Al Jarrahi and mountainous locations.
Thousands of landmines have also obstructed local people’s movements, and claimed the lives of several civilians since early last week. Dozens of civilians have been killed in Khokha and Mokha towns by mortar rounds and Katyusha rockets fired from Al Houthi-controlled areas in Hodeida.
Meanwhile, in the central province of Baydha, government forces captured and killed dozens of militants in the region of Qanea, on the borders of Baydha and Marib province. Brigadier Ahmad Ma’ouda said the bodies of tens of Al Houthi militants have been abandoned on rugged mountain ranges liberated by government forces as army sappers started to clear mines planted by Al Houthis.
Speaking from liberated areas in Qanea, Ma’ouda said victories in Baydha would enable government forces to advance quickly to the other Al Houthi-controlled areas, such as Sana’a, as the province borders Marib, Shabwa, Abyan, Sana’a, Dhamar, Ibb and Dhale.
In the northern province of Jawf, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said on Monday that heavy fighting had broken out between government forces and Al Houthis in Al Masloub and Baret districts as fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition struck Al Houthis’ military sites and gatherings. In Saada province, Al Houthis’ heartland, government forces battled the militia in Ketaf and Bouqa and Al Dhaher districts on Monday.
Massive military support from the Saudi-led coalition has helped government forces deal major setbacks to Al Houthis and seize control of almost 80 per cent of Yemeni land.