Fighting continues to rage around central city of Taiz between forces loyal to country’s president and Shia Houthi militia
By Mohamed al-Samei and Murad al-Arifi
TAIZ, Yemen – A military commander fighting with forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been killed in clashes with the Shia Houthi militant group west of the central city of Taiz, local sources said Saturday.
The city’s pro-Hadi military council tweeted on Saturday that Major-General Mohamed al-Awni had been “martyred” while leading operations against the Houthis in Taiz’s Al-Misrakh Directorate.
It did not provide further details.
Another pro-Hadi source, preferring anonymity, told Anadolu Agency the same day that al-Awni — along with an unspecified number of others — had been killed one week earlier in a Houthi attack on a military base near Taiz.
Houthi fighters, he said, had attacked the base from the Mount Han, Al-Zamin Heights and Gurab al-Qareeba regions with light and medium weapons, triggering fierce fighting between the Houthis and elements of the national army.
Yemen has remained in turmoil since September of 2014, when the Houthis overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.
One year ago, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies — which accuse the Houthis of serving as proxies for Shia Iran — began an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring Hadi’s embattled government.
Fighting, however, continues to rage in several parts of the country between the Houthis and their allies — which remain in control of the capital — and Saudi-backed pro-Hadi forces.