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Yemen: Army launches massive attack on Houthi sites, Socotra governor survives assassination attempt

April 9, 2020 at 4:00 am

Yemeni soldiers [Al-Mashareq English/Facebook]

A Yemeni military source revealed on Wednesday that government forces regained parts of the strategic Houthi-controlled Al-Labnat camp in Al-Jawf governorate (north).

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that the Yemeni government forces launched a massive attack on Wednesday on Houthi sites in the Khabb wa ash Sha’af District in Al-Jawf.

The source added that the government forces managed to control large parts of Al-Labnat camp, while fighting battles to control the rest of the camp’s northern parts, and other locations.

The military source indicated that more than 15 Houthi militants were killed and wounded during the attack, while no casualties were reported among the government forces.

The Houthi movement did not issue a statement on the attacks until 11:00 GMT.

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On 30 March, the Houthis took control of Al-Labnat, after controlling the city of Al-Hazm, in the centre of the Al-Jawf governorate, at the beginning of the same month.

Clashes are ongoing in Yemen, despite the fact that the warring parties, namely the government, the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis, welcomed the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to end the fighting and unite efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The complications of the war, which has been ongoing in Yemen for six years, are far-reaching at the regional level. Since 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has been supporting pro-government forces against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

Meanwhile, Ramzi Mahrous, governor of the Yemeni island Socotra, has survived an assassination attempt carried out by gunmen loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Wednesday.

A local source told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that gunmen affiliated with the Security Belt Forces (SBF) shot at the governor’s house in the city of Hadiboh, the capital of Socotra.

The source indicated that clashes erupted between the gunmen, guards and security forces, without causing casualties. The security forces arrested some of the gunmen, while others fled.

This attack comes hours after some of the STC’s officers kidnapped Riad Saeed, director of the Socotra Port, and took him to an unknown destination.

READ: Yemen’s Houthis: Saudi coalition destroyed 475 archaeological sites 

Saeed was released after the governorate’s sheikhs succeeded to mediate his liberation deal, in addition to the pressures exerted by the local authority, who threatened to use force on the kidnappers.

Last February, Mahrous accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of supporting a military rebellion against the legitimate government, after the army’s 1st Marine Brigade on Socotra Island defected from the internationally-recognised government and declared its allegiance to the STC.

Differences between the Yemeni government and the UAE on the Socotra Island have emerged since 2018, after the latter sent soldiers, military vehicles and tanks deployed in the island’s port and airport, without notifying the legitimate government.

At that time, the Yemeni government expressed its rejection of the Emirati presence on the island, stating that this constituted a violation of the national sovereignty.

Government officials also accused the UAE of financially and militarily supporting the leaders of the STC. However, Abu Dhabi denied such allegations.

Socotra Island is part of the Socotra Archipelago, which consists of six islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the Horn of Africa near the Gulf of Aden.