Yemeni forces advance against Houthis in al-Hodeidah, Saada

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


In this file photo taken on February 8th, 2017, a member of Yemen's pro-government forces raises his weapon in the port of Mokha as the troops advance in a bid to drive the Houthis away from the Red Sea coast. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

The Arab coalition said Sunday (July 29th) it has destroyed sites used by Iran-backed Houthi (Ansarallah) militias in Yemen to launch missiles at Saudi Arabia, AFP reported.

The coalition announced in a statement the "destruction over the past 24 hours of ballistic missile (launch) sites run by the Houthi militias in Saada", a northern Yemeni province bordering Saudi Arabia and controlled by the Houthis.

Meanwhile, Arab coalition warplanes launched heavy airstrikes targeting Houthi positions and reinforcements in many areas along the west coast, mostly in al-Hodeidah.

Dozens of Houthi elements, including field commanders, were killed and several Houthi combat vehicles were destroyed in the airstrikes.

Violent battles are underway between the army and the Houthis in the eastern al-Tuhayat villages of al-Qarima and al-Maslab and in surrounding farms.

These battles are underway as Yemeni forces heavily mobilise in preparation to liberate the town of Zabid in al-Hodeidah from the Houthis.

'First directorate in Saada to be liberated'

The Yemeni army, supported by Arab coalition warplanes, launched on Sunday a surprise attack on Houthi positions in al-Hashwa directorate, eastern Saada province, said Brig. Gen. Jameel al-Maalem, chief of staff of the Border Guard's 1st Brigade.

"We were able to liberate a number of important positions, particularly the Rabaa mountain range, Camp Rabaa and the Shair mountain range," he said.

Twenty Houthis were killed in the battles and 28 others were arrested, including field commander Abu Yasser al-Khulani, he said, while the remaining militia fighters fled.

The Yemeni army has combed and secured positions around the centre of Baqim directorate in Saada, seizing a Houthi weapons cache, Col. Sami al-Qabati, head of operations of the 5th Brigade in the Yemeni Army Border Guard said Saturday.

"The army forces, supported by the Arab coalition, are now besieging Houthis at the centre of Baqim directorate from several fronts," he said.

It will soon be the first directorate in Saada province to be "fully liberated", he said.

Retaking Kilo 16

Meanwhile, the Yemeni army on Sunday launched a military operation to capture Kilo 16, east of al-Hodeidah, in order to cut the Houthi militia's main supply routes from Sanaa, Ibb and Raymah provinces to al-Hodeidah.

"The liberation of [Kilo 16] will enable the army to cut supply routes from the east and tighten the noose on al-Hodeidah, where the Houthis are barricaded and using the local population as human shields," said journalist Munir Talal.

"Joint forces are approaching from the south and from the coast under a fire cover provided by Arab coalition warships," he told Al-Mashareq.

They are also advancing towards al-Hodeidah city from a number of districts in the province, while the army is advancing in Hajjah, Saada, al-Jawf and al-Bayda, he said.

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Very wonderful!