Yemen: Houthis fired ballistic missile at populated area in northern Dhalea

The rocket missed its target, falling over a farm in the north of the province on Tuesday night

epa07480915 Yemeni pro-government forces take part in military operations on Houthi positions in the southern province of al-Dhalea, Yemen, 01 April 2019 (issued 02 April 2019). According to reports, heavy fighting has intensified in the southern province of al-Dhalea after the Houthi rebels launched a series of intensive attacks on positions of Yemeni pro-government forces in the province near the port city of Aden where the temporary seat of the internationally recognized Yemeni government.  EPA/NAJEEB ALMAHBOOBI
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Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile at a populated area near Dhalea in southern Yemen on Tuesday evening.

The rocket missed its target and fell over a farm in the Sanaa area, north of the province of Dhalea, and caused significant damage. No casualties were reported.

There has been fierce clashes in northern Dhalea over the past two weeks between the Iran-backed Houthis and pro-government forces, with fighting taking place on four fronts.

On Tuesday, pro-government forces took control of key sites held by the Houthis in Mureis, with about 40 rebels killed in the fighting. Four soldiers with the pro-government force were also killed.

The National visited the liberated sites, which included the strategic Shaddad Fort, and the villages of Sawlan and Kahra.

Shaddad Fort is a strategic garrison and liberating it allows pro-government forces to launch attacks on the Houthis that still control the nearby Nasah mountain.

"The battle in which we gained control over this mountain was really hard," Lt Maeen Al Sheikh, commander of the battalion at the fort, told The National on Sunday.

"We never experienced such a battle since the beginning of the war with the Houthi militia. Forty rebels were killed because they know the importance of taking over the strategic mountain."

The pro-government forces controlling Zeela village and the Wynan area in Mureis are led by the UAE-trained Security Belt forces, and a battalion of the Amalikah Brigades, that have arrived from Hodeidah province.

Large numbers of fighters from the Southern Resistance and local militiamen are expected to join the battle in the coming days.

The Houthis have exploited the halt to fighting in Hodeidah and have sent a large number of fighters to the border between Dhalea and the northern province of Ibb.

The Iran-backed rebels plan to retake Dhalea, the first area liberated by pro-government forces in 2015.