Fighters opposed to Yemen’s Houthi terrorists seized six districts in the central province of Ibb on Monday, residents and officials said, bringing them closer to the group’s stronghold in Sanaa.
Tribal gunmen and militias loyal to Yemen’s government took control of the areas in heavy clashes with the Houthis, in the latest of a series of northward gains with the backing of the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes and weapons.
The northernmost district overrun, Al-Qafr, is 125 km from Sanaa, which was taken over by the Houthis in September.
Loyalists secured Aden in mid-July and Lahj provincial capital Huta on August 4 before advancing on Abyan, backed by the Saudi-led coalition.
The southern fighters also battled Houthi forces on Monday in the southern province of Abyan, ejecting them from the last large city in the area, Lawdar.
Local government officials in Aden said the deputy speaker of Yemen’s parliament and a former interior minister were wounded in clashes in Abyan.
Mohammed Al-Shaddadi and ex-minister Hussein bin Arab, who are close to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, were leading loyalist forces in the city of Loder at the time, the officials said.
Loder is the only town in the southern province that has not yet been recaptured by loyalist forces, who took Zinjibar from the Houthis and their allies on Sunday as they pressed an advance from Aden.