Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Government Forces Defuse Landmine Network, Foil Insurgency Attack in Taiz | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Yemeni boy rides his bicycle March 23, 2016 in front of destroyed buildings in the old city of the Yemeni capital Sana’a. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED HUWAIS

Taiz, Aden- Fierce battles in Yemeni governorates Taiz and Lahij continued as clashes intensified near Taiz city and rural areas.

Pitting putschist Houti militiamen and pro-government National Army Forces, the fighting exasperated after Iran-allied Houthis retaliated viscously for mass losses suffered in the western coastline, particularly in the strategic port city of Mocha.

National Army units successfully retook insurgency-held territory west of Taiz, particularly near the town of Kudha, field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Pro-government forces –composed of National Army troops and local tribesmen unified under what is known by the Popular Resistance– foiled violent attacks and ambushes by militias based in rural Taiz, the sources added.

National Army forces managed to thwart a major offensive by coup militias and dismantle a network of landmines and explosive barrels that were planted around the outskirts of a town north of Taiz.

National Army Brigade 22 Mika’s Fifth Division posted a statement on the social media platform Facebook on government forces defusing on Monday a network of explosive devices planted by Houthi insurgents near National Army posts.

The landmines were planted by specialists during fierce battles, sources added.

More so, militias have used heavy and medium range weapons such as tanks, Vulcan machine guns and anti-aircraft guns, mortars and Rocket-propelled grenades to provide intense fire cover in hopes of weaving a comprehensive network of explosives that would level the area to the ground.

However, members of the brigade were able to foil the operation, killing six militia members and wounding others. Five members of the brigade sustained minor injuries.

Meanwhile, violent clashes renewed, accompanied by bombardment exchanged between Popular Resistance forces and Houthis in the northern outskirts of Lahj situated in southern Yemen.

The fighting resulted in the deaths and injuries of dozens among the ranks of militias, in addition to the capture of many. Popular Resistance fighters were backed by Arab coalition air forces in the region.

Dozens of militiamen were wounded in clashes. Those injured were rushed to hospitals in areas near the city of Rahda, southeast Taiz, eyewitnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Yemen has been reeling from ongoing conflict between Houthis, aligned with Iran, against the constitutionally elected and internationally recognized government of Hadi. A Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to help the government retake the capital Sana’a.