Sanaa: Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition have continued bombing various sites controlled by the Houthi militia in Yemen’s oil-rich province of Marib, a military official said.
“The Houthi-held sites in Marib were heavily struck by the Saudi-led coalition warplanes that succeeded in slowing down the rebels’ progress toward the strategic city,” the official told Xinhua news agency.
“The rebels partially ceased their advance on the ground because of the heavy aerial bombardment that killed hundreds of them during the past days,” he added.
The coalition expanded its air raids against the Houthis in an attempt to support the pro-government Yemeni forces stationed in Marib, according to the official.
Earlier on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition had announced that at least 264 Houthi rebels were killed and 36 of their military vehicles destroyed in the fighting in Marib city in the past three days, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Yemeni military sources confirmed that most of the airstrikes were conducted in Marib’s southern district of Al Jubah and other surrounding areas that are witnessing non-stop armed confrontations between the two warring sides.
However, the Houthi rebels’ military spokesperson Yahya Saree dismissed the Saudi-led airstrikes on the Houthi-affiliated Masirah television network.
“If the enemy thought their warplanes could stop our troops’ progress or break our fighters’ resolve, they were mistaken,” he said.
Saree claimed that the rebels killed 550 pro-government soldiers, wounded 1,200 others, and captured 90 during a military operation in Marib.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched in February a major offensive toward Marib in an attempt to seize control of the province, the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.
Yemen has been mired in civil war since September 2014 when the Houthi militia forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.