Battle for Yemen's strategic Marib city claims 78 lives

Fighting is concentrated in the north and west of the governorate

The battle for the strategic Yemeni city of Marib between rebels and pro-government troops has claimed another 78 lives.

Sixty Houthi rebels were killed, most of them in air strikes in the past 24 hours, AFP reported, citing a government military official. Eighteen pro-government troops were killed and dozens injured in fighting over the past 48 hours, other military sources said.

The rebels rarely report casualty numbers.

The fight between Yemen's government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Iran-allied Houthi rebels has intensified in recent days in the province of Marib, the military official said. Air strikes have also intensified.

The fighting is concentrated in the north and the west of the governorate.

The rebels themselves reported early on Wednesday that the coalition had launched at least 30 such strikes against them across Marib province.

"The Houthis last night launched a military offensive that continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning," the pro-government official said. The loyalist troops were able to repel the insurgents despite a small advance on the northern front.

Yemen's internationally recognised government and the Houthis have been at war since 2014, when the insurgents seized the capital, Sanaa.

In February, the Houthis increased efforts to seize Marib, the government's last northern stronghold, in fighting that has since killed hundreds on both sides.

Control of the oil-rich region would strengthen the Houthis' bargaining position in peace talks.

Updated: September 8th 2021, 10:25 AM