Saudi Arabia-led coalition air strike kills high-ranking Hezbollah commander, says Yemeni official

Mustafa Al Gharawi was killed in the Serwah region west of Marib on Monday according to the Yemeni government

A man chants slogans as he and supporters of the Houthi movement attend a rally to celebrate following claims of military advances by the group near the borders with Saudi Arabia, in Sanaa, Yemen October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition engaged in fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen killed a high-ranking Hezbollah commander in an air strike in northern Marib province, Yemen's Information Minister Moammar Al Eryani told The National on Tuesday.

Mustafa Al Gharawi was killed in the Serwah region west of Marib on Monday, Mr Al Eryani said.

The Houthis began an assault on Marib in February and are now within a few kilometres of the government-held city, the site of the only oil refinery in the north and a gateway to nearby oilfields.

"Al Gharawi was killed in an air strike launched by coalition aircraft on sites controlled by the Houthi militia in Serwah," Mr Al Eryani said.

The minister, who is part of the internationally recognised Yemeni government, said Iran has been intensively involved in backing the Houthi rebels in the recent escalation in Marib.

"His killing reflects the level of the Iranian involvement in military escalation waged by the Houthi militia on various Marib fronts," Mr Al Eryani said said.

The latest round of talks on  a ceasefire in Marib and other hotspots in Yemen have stalled, killing hopes of a breakthrough, after US President Joe Biden's administration made ending the war a priority.

The assault has displaced almost 20,000 people and “threatens the safety of millions”, the UN said.

Iran's involvement in the recent escalation in the Houthis' Marib offensive included deploying hundreds of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers and Hezbollah experts to lead military operations, smuggle ballistic missiles and operate drones, the minister said.

Yemen's conflict began when the Houthis ousted the country's government from the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened the following year with an air bombing campaign to beat back the rebels.

The war has created what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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