UAE Patriot system shoots down Houthi missiles in Yemen
ADEN // A UAE Patriot missile system has shot down two ballistic missiles fired at Yemeni military targets by Houthi rebels in the province of Marib.
The first missile was shot down late on Friday in the Al Gofainah area, where there are military camps of soldiers loyal to president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, Brigadier General Murad Turaiq, the commander of the Yemeni military in Marib and Bayda provinces, told The National on Saturday.
He said the second missile was shot down over the control and operations building for military camps in both Marib and neighbouring Al Jawf province. Neither missile reached their intended target and there were no casualties.
The UAE deployed the Patriot missile system to Marib in September, shortly after 52 Emirati soldiers and 15 other fighters from the Saudi Arabia-led coalition were killed in a Houthi missile attack on the coalition’s Safer camp in the province.
Brig Gen Turaiq on Saturday thanked the UAE for providing Marib with the system.
Marib, which lies east of the capital, Sanaa, was liberated at the start of October by Yemeni soldiers and tribesmen loyal to Mr Hadi, backed by coalition forces.
However, Brig Gen Turaiq said there were still some Houthis present in the province’s Sirwah district.
He said 100 fighters had been sent to Sirwah, the Houthis’ former stronghold in Marib, to flush out the remaining rebels.
Mohammed Al Gadasi, a journalist based in the province, said the Houthis in Sirwah are originally from Marib and simply return to their homes and pretend to be ordinary civilians whenever pro-government forces enter the district.
“The Yemeni army should rid Sirwah of weapons as many people there are supporters of the Houthis and they will not let peace return to the district,” he said.
Meanwhile in Taez city, fighting continued on several fronts on Saturday, while the Houthis took control of the main road connecting the city to the provinces of Lahj and Aden. The road had been used by resistance forces fighting the Houthis to send military reinforcements to Taez and break the rebels’ siege of the city.
Moa’ath Al Yaseri, the leader of the popular resistance in Taez province, said about 30 Houthis had been killed and dozens injured in fighting in Taez city during the last 24 hours. Control of the provincial capital is split between the Houthis and the resistance.
Fareed Al Homaid, a journalist based in Taez, said the Houthis had also taken over the areas of Al Misrakh and Nagd Qusaim close to Taez city on Saturday morning, but that by midday the resistance had recaptured parts of Nagd Qusaim. Clashes were still ongoing.
Mr Al Yaseri said many tribal leaders from Taez support the Houthis and helped them to block the main road connecting Taez with Lahj and Aden, and to capture Al Misrakh and Nagd Qusaim.
He added that the resistance would recapture these areas in the coming hours.
“Right now the Houthis are starting to withdraw, and we are going to send more reinforcements to the battle to recapture the areas, and then we will try to reopen the road,” he said.
Updated: November 14, 2015 04:00 AM