70 Dead In Fighting Over Yemen’s Marib – Loyalist Officials
Fierce fighting for Yemen’s strategic city of Marib has killed 70 pro-government and Huthi rebel fighters over the past 24 hours, loyalist military officials said Sunday.
The Huthis have been trying to seize oil-rich Marib, the government’s last significant pocket of territory in the north, since February.
Two officials from pro-government forces told AFP that battles are raging on three fronts outside Marib city as the Huthis mount a concerted push.
The new toll comes after officials on Saturday announced 53 killed on both sides.
The 70 dead included 26 members of the pro-government forces and 44 from Huthi ranks, they said. The rebels rarely disclose their losses.
One of the officials said that the rebels “are launching simultaneous attacks” in the areas of Kassara and Al-Mashjah, northwest of the city, and Jabal Murad in the south.
“They have made progress on the Kassara and Al-Mashjah fronts, but they have been thwarted on the Jabal Murad front,” he told AFP.
The other official said that warplanes from the Saudi-led military coalition, which entered the Yemen conflict to support the government in 2015, launched airstrikes that “destroyed 12 Huthi military vehicles, including four tanks and a cannon.”
The Iran-backed rebels in late 2014 overran the capital Sanaa, 120 kilometres (75 miles) to the west of Marib, along with much of northern Yemen.
The loss of Marib would be a heavy blow for the Yemeni government, currently based in the southern city of Aden, and for its Saudi backers.