Eleven Yemeni government troops, including a senior officer, were killed in a rebel missile attack and clashes to the northeast and east of the capital Sanaa, military and medical sources said Monday.
General Mohammed Ali-Roqn, commander of the army’s 122 Brigade, along with eight other soldiers were killed in battle in Al-Jawf province on Sunday while trying to reclaim positions lost months ago, the sources said.
The rebels also suffered casualties, a military official added without elaborating.
Houthi rebels took control of the capital of northern al-Jawf province earlier this year – a strategic advance that means they now threaten oil-producing Marib province.
Yemen’s vice president, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, in a statement carried by the official Saba news agency, said al-Roqn was killed “while conducting military operations” in al-Jawf.
Two government troops were killed and four others wounded in a Houthi missile attack on a military base in Marib, east of Sanaa, a government official said.
Air strikes kill civilians in Yemen’s al-Jawf province (2:14)
Renewed clashes also broke out in al-Baida – which is under nominal government control – between loyalist forces and the Houthis, who have launched offensives against al-Qaeda fighters in the province.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – considered the armed group’s most dangerous branch – has carried out operations against both the Houthis and government forces.
AQAP on Saturday executed a dentist in al-Baida accused of spying for the government and guiding US drone strikes targeting the group.
The government and rebels have been locked in a five-year war that has killed tens of thousands of people, triggering what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Fighting has carried on despite repeated calls for a ceasefire as part of global efforts to combat the coronavirus, which health agencies fear could become a disastrous outbreak in impoverished Yemen.
More than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Yemen, including 530 deaths.