Yemen battles al Qaeda, Houthis in Marib

Written by By Staff Writer

Yemen’s anti-Houthi government forces are targeting major Houthi-held areas of Marib, a province that has been a strategic transit route for weapons smuggling over the past year, according to the local media and a Yemeni security official.

Houthi rebels, who control northern Yemen, are advancing on the city of Ibb, destroying local and foreign soil and the road linking Marib city with Saadah, one of the few cities in the north still in government hands, according to the official and the local media.

The security official, who asked not to be named, said on Wednesday that Shiite rebels had positioned tanks and bulldozers on Marib’s outskirts and were bombing government positions in town. “The rebels have breached the town of Marib and the road to Saadah and are shelling government forces inside and outside the city,” the security official said.

“Marib has become a tinderbox, with government troops bogged down in intense fighting inside the city and their checkpoints taken over by the rebels, who are well supplied by the regime of the same name.

“Government troops are desperately trying to rescue their positions to stem Houthi advances.”

The Marib government official and local media said on Wednesday that jets from a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis had carried out air strikes on the town of Ibb and that a key bridge on the Marib-Sadaa road has been destroyed.

The three-day-old clashes have already left more than 20 dead, according to Yemen’s official news agency and local media.

Yemeni officials were not immediately available for comment.

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