Dozens dead in 5 days of Yemen fighting

Fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis ride on armored vehicles near the strait of Bab al-Mandab, Yemen, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. (AP)

At least 80 pro-government and rebel troops have been killed in fighting since last week in northwest Yemen near the border with Saudi Arabia, military sources said on Monday.

The clashes began on Thursday when government forces launched an offensive aimed at retaking the towns of Haradh and Midi in Hajja province on the border.

“At least 48 (Shiite Houthi) rebels and forces loyal to (ex-president) Ali Abdullah Saleh were killed” in the fighting, said one of the sources.

Thirty-four loyalist soldiers were also killed, a pro-government source said.

Most of the soldiers were killed in explosions of landmines planted by the rebels, he said, adding that dozens were wounded on both sides.

Loyalist forces had succeeded in retaking a border post at the entrance of Haradh and pushing towards the town centre, another military source said.

The offensive aims to advance on rebel-held Sanaa from the west after loyalist forces have so far failed to enter the capital from the east.

It comes as the Yemeni rivals hold UN-brokered peace talks in Kuwait that have so far failed to end the conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people since March last year.

Yemeni loyalists are supported by a Saudi-led coalition that has been battling the Iran-backed rebels since March 2015.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49