Eleven Yemen soldiers killed in militia attack, clashes

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Eleven Yemeni government troops, including a senior officer, were killed in a militia missile attack and clashes to the northeast and east of Sanaa, military and medical sources said Monday.

General Mohammed Ali-Roqn, commander of the army’s 122 brigade, along with eight other soldiers were killed in battle in Al-Jawf province Sunday while trying to reclaim positions lost months ago, the sources said.

The rebels also suffered casualties, the military source added without elaborating.

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Houthi militia members took control of the capital of the northern province of Al-Jawf earlier this year – a strategic advance that means they now threaten oil-producing Marib province.

Yemen’s vice president, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, in a statement carried by the official Saba news agency, said Roqn was killed “while conducting military operations” in Al-Jawf.

Two government troops were killed and four others wounded in a Iran-backed Houthi missile attack on a military base in Marib, east of Sanaa, a government official said.

Renewed clashes also broke out in Al-Baida – which is under nominal government control – between loyalist forces and the Houthis, who have launched offensives against Al-Qaeda militants in the province.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – considered by the United States as the radical group’s most dangerous branch – has carried out operations against both the Houthis and government forces.

AQAP on Saturday executed a dentist in Al-Baida accused of spying for the government and guiding US drone strikes targeting the Islamist extremists.

The government and rebels have been locked in a five-year-old war that has killed tens of thousands – triggering what the UN terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Fighting has carried on despite repeated calls for a ceasefire as part of global efforts to combat coronavirus, which health agencies fear could become a disastrous outbreak in impoverished Yemen.

More than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Yemen, including 530 deaths.

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