Yemen: 1,000 Houthi fighters killed last month, government says

Government forces have halted Houthi attempts to take control of Marib and establish complete control of northern Yemen

A pro-government tribal fighter stands at a position where he fights against the Houthis in Marib, Yemen October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Ali Owidha
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Yemen’s internationally recognised government said on Tuesday that at least 1,000 Houthi fighters were killed last month as the Arab Coalition thwarted a rebel attack in the Red Sea.

The Iran-backed rebels have been pushing on several fronts towards the last government-controlled major northern city, Marib, and other towns, intensifying the war.

“At least 1,000 Houthis, including 215 field commanders and military officers, were killed in fighting with government forces or in Arab Coalition air strikes,” Yemen’s Defence Ministry said.

Government forces halted Houthi attempts to take control of Marib, Defence Minister Mohammed Al Maqdishi said.

He praised the Arab Coalition’s role in supporting the army.

The international community warned that a Houthi victory in Marib would mean they would have complete control of Yemen’s north.

The UN's efforts to secure a peace deal based on a nationwide ceasefire would also be hampered as the conflict would intensify and thousands more people would be displaced.

Houthi rebels and officials from the Saudi-led Arab coalition began back-channel talks last year.

For months, the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been pushing the sides to agree on a ceasefire deal that would pave the way for broader talks to end the war.

Mr Griffiths told the UN Security Council that he sent an advanced draft of the agreement to the parties, and warned the international community not to underestimate the political importance of Marib.

The UN says fighting in Marib has displaced nearly a million people, and threatens about 750,000 refugees who have settled in the city since the war started in 2014.

Meanwhile, the Arab Coalition thwarted a “terror” attack by the Houthis in the Red Sea.

A remote-controlled, explosive-laden rebel boat was destroyed near the western coastal city of As Salif, the coalition said.

This is a tactic used by the rebels to attack ships off Yemen’s coast.

The Yemen war erupted in late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened the following year in an effort to restore the government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to power.