31 Houthis killed in Saudi-led airstrikes

Sanaa: At least 31 Houthi rebels were killed in airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s oil-rich province of Marib, a military source said on Saturday.

 “The airstrikes on Friday killed the militants in the desert while they were moving in three groups toward positions of the Yemeni army in the western district of Sirwah,” the source told Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, Houthi-run al-Masirah TV reported 15 coalition airstrikes on the Houthi positions in Sirwah, without providing further details. The Iran-backed Houthis began in February a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture Marib, which hosts nearly 2 million internally displaced people.

 The UN has warned the offensive on Marib could lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe. A recent UN-brokered negotiation between Yemen’s warring sides and other relevant parties has failed to produce a ceasefire agreement.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 20,384 people have been displaced due to the ongoing fighting in Marib since February.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi’s government.