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Dozens dead as Houthi offensive in Yemen’s northern Marib escalates

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Fighting in Yemen’s north has left dozens dead and wounded, a government source said Friday, as the Houthis battle to seize a strategic oil-rich region of Marib.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have resumed an offensive to seize Marib, the government’s last northern stronghold, with reports of heavy clashes with pro-government forces, including air strikes pounding a rebel convoy.

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“Dozens of people have been killed and wounded on both sides,” a government source told AFP, claiming that “most of the deaths were Houthis hit by air strikes.”

The loss of Marib would be disastrous for the beleaguered leadership.

On Thursday night, Houthi militants fired a missile into the suburbs of Marib “killing eight soldiers and wounding many others,” he added.

Military sources said the Arab Coalition launched several air strikes on Houthi positions near Marib, including destroying a Houthi convoy of eight vehicles, killing all.

Marib lies some 120 kilometers east of the capital Sanaa, which the Houthis have held – along with much of the north – since 2014.

Residents in Marib said the city was on alert and that government forces had appealed on local tribes to support them.

This month the militia launched a new push for Marib, and also escalated attacks against Saudi Arabia, drawing condemnation from the international community.