Tuesday, 18 January, 2022
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Yemen strikes kill more than 180 rebels: Saudi-led coalition

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen said Saturday that its air strikes over the previous 24 hours killed 186 Huthi fighters in the battleground provinces of Marib and Al-Bayda.

Later in the day, loyalist military officials said 32 rebels and nine loyalist soldiers had been killed in fighting south of the key Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

On the Marib front, the Saudi-led coalition has been reporting high death tolls in almost daily strikes since October aimed at repelling a rebel offensive on the city, the government's last stronghold in the north.

A coalition statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency Saturday said that the latest strikes had focused on the front line west of Marib, near the ruins of ancient Sirwah, and on Al-Bayda province farther south.

The Iran-backed Huthis rarely comment on the tolls, which have exceeded 3,000 in total. AFP cannot independently verify the coalition's figures.

On Friday, the rebels took control of a large area south of Hodeida, a lifeline port where the warring sides agreed a ceasefire in 2018, after loyalist forces withdrew.

Two military officials told AFP that fighting erupted Saturday when the rebels tried to push farther south into government-controlled territory, but loyalist forces repelled the advance.

One of the officials said that 32 rebels and nine loyalist soldiers were killed in the fighting around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of Hodeida.

The Hodeida ceasefire was agreed at Yemen's last peace talks in Sweden in 2018, but clashes have since broken out between the rebels and pro-government troops around the city.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to shore up the government, a year after the Huthis seized the capital Sanaa.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced, in what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.