Yemeni forces seize northern provincial capital from rebels

Supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, west of the city of Marib.
Supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, west of the city of Marib. PHOTO: AFP

ADEN (AFP) - Yemeni forces and allied tribes on Friday (Dec 18) captured the capital of northern Jawf province, the second rebel town to fall in 24 hours despite an announced ceasefire, tribal sources said.

News of the seizure of Hazm came as the Saudi-led coalition that has fought rebels for months said two ballistic missiles were launched from Yemen towards Saudi Arabia.

Troops loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and allied tribesmen seized Hazm after making significant gains in the neighbouring region of Marib, the sources said.

On Thursday, Yemeni troops captured the northwestern town of Harad after crossing over from Saudi Arabia where they had been trained and equipped.

About 1,000 soldiers were involved in the operation to take the town, a Yemeni military official said, adding that "intensive fighting took place in Harad".

He said dozens of renegade troops allied with the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels had been killed.

Riyadh said that one missile fired Friday was intercepted by the kingdom's air defences, but said the other hit an area of desert east of the Saudi city of Najran.

It did not mention any casualties.

Clashes have been frequent along the border with Saudi Arabia, where rebel strikes have killed more than 80 people since March when the coalition campaign against the rebels began.

A fragile ceasefire has been repeatedly violated since it took effect on Tuesday to coincide with UN-sponsored peace talks being held behind closed doors in Switzerland.