Houthi rebels in Yemen have been driven out of a key area near the northern city of Marib by the “Giants Brigade”, the UAE-backed force announced on Tuesday.
The development comes a day after renewed attacks by Yemeni insurgents, backed by Iran, against the United Arab Emirates, marking an escalation in the war in Yemen, which has lasted for more than seven years.
The Houthis have also fired missiles against Saudi Arabia, which since 2015 has led the military coalition supporting Yemeni government forces, and of which the Emirates is also a member.
The UN has been trying in vain for several years to end this devastating conflict which, according to it, has killed 377,000 people and pushed a population of 30 million to the brink of large-scale famine.
The rebels have lost an area south of Marib, the last stronghold of power in the north, which is located in an oil-rich region and which they have been trying to seize for months.
Fighting in the area has left “hundreds of dead and injured on both sides”, clashes that have lasted for more than two weeks and pro-government forces retook the neighboring province of Chabwa (center) on January 10, said in a press release the “Giants Brigade”, made up of soldiers from the former Yemeni army and volunteers and supported by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and large parts of the country, did not immediately comment.
“We thank the Arab coalition for their support of our successful operations in Chabwa,” the brigade added.
– Threat of reprisals –
On January 17, the insurgents carried out a deadly attack in the Emirates, the first to cause deaths on Emirati soil.
The attack, condemned abroad, was followed by a series of coalition airstrikes and ground offensives by Yemeni government forces.
One of the air raids killed 14 people in Sanaa, and at least three children were killed in an attack on Hodeida (west), the port through which most of the international aid destined for the country, the poorest on the peninsula, passes. arabic.
This latest strike notably caused an Internet shutdown which was restored on Tuesday, according to the NetBlocks organization, which specializes in monitoring the Internet around the world.
The coalition, on the other hand, denied any responsibility in a deadly strike against a prison launched on Friday before dawn in Saada, the rebel stronghold in northern Yemen.
This attack left at least 70 dead and more than 100 injured, according to the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Houthis giving a toll of 91 dead and more than 200 injured in a press release published on Tuesday, while a collective funeral was organized in Saada for dozens of victims.
The rebels in Yemen again fired ballistic missiles in quick succession on Monday against the United Arab Emirates which intercepted them and Saudi Arabia where two people were injured.
The United Arab Emirates, which withdrew most of its troops from Yemen in 2019 but continues to support and train pro-government forces, has pledged a “strong response” to the latest attacks.