At least 12 rebels and three pro-government fighters were killed in fierce battles in southwestern Yemen yesterday, military sources said.
Loyalist forces attacked rebel positions in Kirsh area in Lahj province, killing seven insurgents, said General Fadhl Hasan, who is leading pro-government troops in the area.
“We will continue our advance towards Taez (city) to break the siege” imposed for more than a year by the Houthi Shia rebels on Yemen’s third city, Hasan said.
In Taez province, five Houthis and their allies were killed when loyalists backed by air strikes and artillery fought off a rebel assault in Kahbub area, a loyalist military leader said. Three pro-government fighters were also killed in the fighting, Colonel Abdulghani al-Subaihi said, in a mountainous area overlooking the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait at the entrance of the Red Sea.
The area is guarded by forces from the coalition, which intervened in Yemen in March last year to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government after the Iran-backed rebels seized the capital Sanaa.
AFP could not independently verify the tolls and the rebels rarely acknowledge their losses.
Meanwhile, coalition air strikes yesterday hit an intelligence building north of Sanaa.
Yemen’s conflict has killed more than 6,600 people, most of them civilians, and displaced at least 3mn others, according to the United Nations.Fighting has intensified since the collapse of UN-backed peace talks in Kuwait on August 6.