Fighters from the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement have engaged in fierce clashes with militiamen loyal to Saudi-backed resigned president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the country’s southwestern province of Ta’izz, killing a number of them.
Medical and security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that skirmishes near the Red Sea port city of Mukha, situated 346 kilometers south of the capital, Sana'a, had left seven pro-Saudi gunmen and eight Ansarullah fighters dead over the past 24 hours.
On January 7, pro-Hadi militia forces, backed by the Saudi air force, began a major offensive to recapture Mukha, which overlooks the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, from Ansarullah fighters.
There have been intense clashes over the past month both inland and north of the city, leaving tens of people from the two sides killed.
Meanwhile, scores of Saudi-sponsored gunmen were killed when Yemeni army forces, supported by allied fighters from Popular Committees, targeted their vehicle in the Khabb wa ash Sha'af district of Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf.
Separately, an unnamed military source told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that Yemeni forces and their allies had thwarted an infiltration attempt by Hadi loyalists into the Jabal al-Tahani mountainous region of the southern Yemeni province of Dhale, killing four mercenaries.
Additionally, several Saudi troopers and pro-Hadi militiamen were killed or injured when Yemeni soldiers and Popular Committees fighters struck their position in the al-Alab border crossing of Saudi Arabia’s southern and border region of Asir. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties or the extent of damage caused.
Yemeni soldiers and their allies also fired a salvo of rockets and artillery rounds at Hajar and al-Masial military camps in Asir, with no reports of casualties available.
The developments came on the same day that Saudi fighter jets carried out a string of aerial attacks against residential areas across Yemen.
Saudi military aircraft launched two raids in the Nihm district of the western-central Yemeni province of Sana'a, but no casualties were reported.
Saudi jets also pounded Jabal Haylan in the city of Sirwah, which lies about 120 kilometers east of Sana’a, though no reports of casualties were available.
According to the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, the Saudi military campaign has claimed the lives of 10,000 Yemenis and left 40,000 others wounded.
McGoldrick told reporters in Sana’a earlier this year that the figure was based on casualty counts given by health facilities and that the actual number might be higher.
On February 23, Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group, put the civilian death toll in the war-torn Arab country at 12,041.
The fatalities, it said, comprised 2,568 children and 1,870 women.