Al Mukalla: Yemeni government forces backed by Saudi-led fighter jets seized control of a military camp in the southern city of Taiz as other forces are now engaging in fierce battles with Iran-backed Al Houthis inside the city’s presidential palace, army commanders and residents said on Monday.
Brigadier General Abdo Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesperson, told Gulf News that government forces secured their grip on Al Tashrefat military camp north of Taiz and began defusing a large number of landmines planted by the fleeing Al Houthis. “By taking control of Al Tashrefat military camp, the national army forces would be able to cut military reinforcements to Al Houthi fighters in different locations.”
Shortly after storming the camp, government forces staged two simultaneous attacks on Al Houthi-held Special Security Forces camp and some parts of the presidential palace compound that are remained under Al Houthi fighters’ control. Majili said that fighting raged on Monday inside the presidential palace where some Al Houthi fighters were hiding, adding that the rebel forces had sent military vehicles and new fighters to Taiz to reinforce their besieged troops. “Government forces seizure of Al Tashrefat military camp would help in winning the battle in the presidential palace,” Majili said. The camp is close to the presidential palace.
Fighting in Taiz intensified last week when government forces assaulted Al Houthi fighters in the eastern districts of the city to stop them from shelling residential areas. Loyalists seized control of some buildings in the presidential palace and a number of military positions.
Local army commanders told Gulf News that as many as 100 Al Houthi fighters were killed in more than a week of fierce fighting with government forces in Taiz. Fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition carried out heavy air strikes hitting Al Houthi military reinforcements heading to the presidential palace or other locations. Local right groups said that Al Houthis usually heavily shell the city’s downtown from the outskirts after suffering heavy defeats in the battleground. Hundreds of civilians had been killed and thousands injured since early 2015 during the rapid expansion of the Al Houthi movement across Yemen.
Meanwhile, on the country’s Red Sea, Majili said that the coalition’s air defence intercepted two ballistic missiles fired at Mokha town in the province of Taiz.
Quoting a military source, Al Masdar Online news site, reported that the two missiles were fired from Al Houthi-held territories in Taiz and were destroyed on the eastern suburbs of Mokha.