ALEXANDRIA: The Yemeni Army and local tribesmen, backed by heavy air cover from Arab coalition warplanes, on Sunday afternoon repelled heavy assaults by Iran-backed Houthis in the province of Marib, as the Yemeni president departed for the US for a routine medical check, official media and military sources said.
Houthis on Saturday night mounted simultaneous heavy attacks on government forces in Al-Kasara and Serwah, near the city of Marib, triggering clashes with loyalists, who claimed that they had killed, wounded and captured dozens of rebels.
“We push them back in Al-Kasara and Serwah,” a military official told Arab News.
At the beginning of the Houthi assaults, the Yemeni Defense Ministry tweeted that government troops were battling heavy attacks by the Houthis who were trying to push toward the city of Marib.
“Our army forces, backed by the coalition warplanes, are fighting heroic battles to repel the attacks of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia,” the ministry said. The Houthi assaults also triggered heavy airstrikes by Arab coalition warplanes that managed to destroy tanks and armored personnel carriers, striking Houthi military positions.
On social media, Yemeni government supporters and officials thanked the Arab coalition for the support to Yemeni forces, mainly through airstrikes, that gave government troops the edge during recent battles.
“Thanks, hawks of (King) Salman,” said a Yemeni soldier on Twitter. Local army commanders described the Houthi attacks during the last 24 hours as the “most aggressive” since February, when the rebels resumed a major offensive to seize control of the oil-rich city of Marib.
Rabia Al-Qurashi, a Yemeni Army spokesman in Jouf province, told Arab News that government troops liberated several locations west of Al- Khanjer military base after heavy clashes with the Houthis, adding that dozens of rebels — including Brig. Ali Hussein Al-Moayad — were killed in the fighting.
Army troops and tribesmen have been fighting throughout the province of Jouf since the start of this year to recapture strategic locations, including the province’s capital, which fell to the Houthis last year.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday night traveled to the US for an annual medical checkup, shortly after holding a meeting with senior government officials in Riyadh, a senior official told Arab News.
“The president is in good health as he traveled to the US for his periodic medical checkups,” the official said, adding: “He usually stays there from 15 days to a month.”
Amid reports that he suffers from a heart problem, Hadi has traveled annually to the US for medical attention since taking power in 2012. On Saturday, the official news agency SABA reported that the president held a meeting with his deputy, Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmer, Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, and several other senior government officials to discuss the latest developments in Yemen.