DUBAI (AFP) – Yemen’s Huthi rebels said on Wednesday a senior leader had been killed as fighting surges for the strategic city of Marib, with pro-government sources reporting it was in a coalition strike.
Government forces and the Huthi rebels have been locked for months in a fierce battle for Marib, the government’s last stronghold and capital of the northern oil-rich province of the same name.
Casualties have been heavy in that battle, but Huthi forces rarely confirm losses in their ranks. On Wednesday, however, the Huthi news agency reported that the rebel vice-governor of Shabwa province, Ahmad al-Hamza, had been “martyred in the battle”, without giving further details.
Military sources close to the government said he was killed on Tuesday night in an air strike by the Saudi-led military coalition when it targetted “a convoy of Huthi commanders”, with other officials injured.
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting for nearly seven years in support of Yemen’s government against the Huthis, in a conflict that has displaced millions and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations (UN).
The UN has estimated the war killed 377,000 people by the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly through hunger and disease.
The rebels began a major push to seize Marib city in February and, after a lull, they renewed their offensive in September.