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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

More than 80 Houthi officers killed in renewed offensive

Yemeni officials indicate the number of officials might be in the hundreds but have yet to confirm.

A Yemeni fighter, loyal to the Yemeni government, holds a Yemeni flag at a position during an offensive against Houthi rebels positions in the Nihem region, east of Sana'a, where several Houthi officers were killed. Soliman Al Nowab / EPA
A Yemeni fighter, loyal to the Yemeni government, holds a Yemeni flag at a position during an offensive against Houthi rebels positions in the Nihem region, east of Sana'a, where several Houthi officers were killed. Soliman Al Nowab / EPA

The Yemeni military has killed at least 80 Houthi officers in the last two months as part of an intensified push to roll back the Iranian-backed militia’s presence in the country.

All 80 officers were killed in Yemeni military campaigns supported by Arab coalition airstrikes. The National was able to verify this information in an official list sent by the Yemeni military.

However, the number of unconfirmed kills on Houthi officers is believed to be more, the spokesman of the Yemeni army, Colonel Abdo Megeli, told The National in a phone call Thursday.

The colonel said “hundreds” of high-ranking officers in the Houthi militia were killed following a push in November which aimed to recapture rebel-held Sanaa.

"They have lost their trained militants but they are trying to keep the news of their deaths confidential, however they have held funerals for many high ranking commanders in Saada, their stronghold" Colonel Megeli said.

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The Houthis suffered many of their causalities in Hodeidah, the only port city held by the Iranian-backed group and the most important stronghold after the capital.

On Wednesday, the spokesman for the Arab coalition, Colonel Turki Al Malki, said their forces struck an arms stockpile in the north of the country.

He added that the successful extermination of Houthi officers has led to low morale among the Houthi ranks.

The army of the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi ramped up offensives on three fronts –on the southeastern Al Bayda province, in the north and along the Red Sea coast –since two Houthi missiles were launched on Saudi Arabia on November 4 and December 19.

The official spokesman for the coalition forces said “the forces carried out monitoring operations and targeting of militia leaders inside Yemen and received contacts from Yemen territory on information on Al-Houthi leaders and their movements”.

In a warning to the Houthi militia, he said there were only two options: “peace or war and as for peace, it means that Houthi militia must hand over power, while the option of war is the second option that is about to be ended.”

On Monday, officials said Iran-backed Houthi rebels were facing severe depletion and discontent in their forces in areas under their control, according to confidential documents obtained by the Yemeni military.

The documents also showed 53 rebels and 12 government troops were killed in clashes and air strikes south of Hodeidah.