Yemen strikes: 186 Houthi rebels killed by Saudi-led coalition

US drone strike also killed two alleged Al Qaeda members

Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen have killed 186 Houthi fighters in the past 24 hours.

The strikes took place on Saturday in the provinces of Marib and Al Bayda. Loyalist military officials said 32 rebels and nine loyalist soldiers had been killed in fighting south of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeidah later on Saturday.

In Marib, the coalition has been reporting high death tolls in almost daily strikes since October, aimed at repelling a rebel offensive on the city, which is the government's last stronghold in the north.

A coalition statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency on Saturday said the latest strikes had focused on the front line west of Marib, near the ruins of ancient Sirwah, and on Al Bayda province farther south.

The Iran-backed Houthis rarely comment on the tolls, which have exceeded 3,000 in total. News agency AFP said it could independently verify the coalition's figures.

On Friday, the rebels took control of a large area south of Hodeidah, a lifeline port where the warring sides agreed a ceasefire, after loyalist forces withdrew.

Two military officials told AFP that fighting erupted on Saturday when the rebels tried to push farther south into government-controlled territory, but loyalist forces repelled the advance.

One of the officials said that 32 rebels and nine loyalist soldiers were killed in the fighting around 100 kilometres south of Hodeidah.

Fighting continued on Sunday near central provinces of Shabwa and Al Bayda where a suspected US drone strike killed three people including two alleged Al Qaeda members.

"A drone that is believed to be American targeted a car carrying a man, who is likely an Al-Qaeda member, and his wife, resulting in the injury of both," a government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

"Three people, a civilian and two suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen, who were in a vehicle that was heading to the site to assist the wounded were targeted in another strike and killed."

The United States considers Al Qaeda's Yemen branch -- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) -- the most dangerous faction of the global militant network.

The Hodeidah ceasefire was agreed at Yemen's last peace talks in Sweden in 2018, but clashes have since broken out between the rebels and pro-government troops around the city.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to shore up the government, a year after the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa.

Updated: November 14th 2021, 11:16 AM
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