Houthis kill top Yemeni defence official

Sanaa: A high-ranking official of Yemen’s Ministry of Defence was killed by the Houthis in the ongoing battles between the militia and security forces in the country’s oil-rich province of Marib, a government source said.

“Nasser al-Thibani, chief of the military operations of the government’s forces, was killed while confronting the Houthi offensive aimed at the city of Marib early this morning,” the source told Xinhua news agency on Monday.

The source said that the Houthis opened fire and killed al-Thibani and other soldiers of the pro-government forces during the raging battles near the Balaq mountain range, south of the city of Marib.

He clarified that al-Thibani was considered as a prominent official of the pro-government Ministry of Defence that’s currently based in Marib.

The source added that the government forces have managed to regain control of several sites near Balaq, killing and injuring many elements of the Houthi rebel militia.

On Sunday, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition conducted 35 aerial operations against the Iran-backed Houthis near Marib, killing more than 200 militia members and destroying 21 vehicles.

During the past weeks, hundreds of Houthi fighters were either killed or injured as a result of the intensified Saudi aerial shelling launched to support the government forces in Marib and elsewhere in Yemen.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched in February a major offensive toward Marib in an attempt to seize control of the province, the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

Yemen has been mired in civil war since September 2014 when the Houthi militia forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.