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Arab coalition says 218 Houthis killed around Yemen’s Marib

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The Arab coalition backing the government in Yemen said on Sunday that more than 218 Houthis were killed in air strikes around the strategic city of Marib.

The Iran-backed Houthis rarely comment on losses, and AFP could not independently verify the toll.

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“Twenty-four military vehicles were destroyed and more than 218” insurgents were killed in strikes in the past 72 hours in al-Jawba, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Marib, and al-Kassara, 30 kilometers northwest, the coalition said, according to the official Saudi Press Agency which has since October 11 issued near-daily reports of bombing around the government’s last stronghold in northern Yemen.

Since then, the coalition -- which has been fighting in Yemen to support the government for almost seven years -- says it has killed around 2,200 Houthis in the Marib area.

The latest bombing was carried out in al-Jawba, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Marib, and al-Kassara, 30 kilometers to the northwest.

The Houthis have reportedly said they were tightening their grip around Marib city, adding it was “only a matter of time” until they seize it.

They began a major push to seize Marib in February and, after a lull, renewed their offensive since September.

The Yemeni civil war began in 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa, 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of Marib, prompting Arab coalition forces to intervene to prop up the government the following year.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Read more: Child among 13 killed by Houthi missile in Yemen: Military