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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 February 2019

Yemen loyalists gain ground in Hajjah province

Highly trained pro-government forces create fear in rebel ranks.
Pro-government fighters in Ataq, the capital of Yemen’s Shabwa province, on December 21, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP
Pro-government fighters in Ataq, the capital of Yemen’s Shabwa province, on December 21, 2015. Saleh Al Obeidi / AFP

ADEN // Yemen’s pro-government forces on Tuesday seized key ground in Hajjah province from Houthi rebels near the insurgents’ stronghold in Saada.

The gains came as Saudi Arabia shot down another ballistic missile fired from Yemen.

The missile, fired late on Monday night, was intercepted on a trajectory towards the Saudi city of Jizan. The Houthis said the missile was aimed at oil installations in the south of the kingdom.

The Shibh Al Himrayah and Shibh Al Hosia areas in the Haradh district of Hajjah were captured by highly trained Yemeni troops who entered the country from Saudi Arabia last week.

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition of countries, including the UAE, has backed Yemen’s government against the Houthis, who are aligned with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“There are many loyalists to... Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis in Hajjah, and for this reason the pro-government forces could not advance easily ... but this advance made the Houthis supporters fear the pro-government forces, as they believe they could take over the whole province,” said Ahmed Qataran, a journalist in Hajjah.

Meanwhile, the Houthis continued block humanitarian aid from entering Taez city, where they have imposed a harsh siege on residents.

The full resumption of aid to Taez was agreed by government and rebel negotiators during peace talks held last week in Switzerland.

“I am calling for the United Nations to break the siege on Taez city, before the liberation of Sanaa,” said Ayman Abduljabar, a resident of the city.

“We cannot live amy longer under the siege of the Houthis but Sanaa can wait for liberation.”

Yemeni security forces said that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched more than a dozen air strikes on the rebels in Taez province on Tuesday, killing at least 20.

The United Nations sponsored talks are set to resume on January 14.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse

Updated: December 23, 2015 04:00 AM

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