Two rockets fired by Al Houthis kill nine civilians in Taiz

Government forces close to closing in on Mocha, a major supply route of arms from Iran

Two rockets fired by Al Houthi rebels on Wednesday night killed nine civilians, including women and children, and wounded several others in the southern Yemen city of Taiz.

The new attack was carried out two days after another rebel missile killed ten civilians, local activists and government officials said.

Ali Al Sarari, a local human right activist, told Gulf News that the first rocket hit a house in Al Monoura district killing several civilians and the second one exploded afterward when residents rushed to rescue the trapped people and retrieve the dead. “The rockets was fired by Al Houthis from the city’s outskirts where their forces are stationed.” Al Sarari said.

On Tuesday, government officials told Gulf News a missile launched by Al Houthis killed ten civilians and destroyed three houses in a small rugged village in Taiz.

Residents said the two targeted residential areas were not battlefields or hosting military facilities.

Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, has been the scene of the bloodiest clashes between the government forces and Al Houthis since early 2015. Right groups said hundreds of people have been killed in Al Houthis’ indiscriminate shelling or their siege that pushed the city to the brink of starvation.

Government forces backed by massive air support from the Saudi-led coalition on Thursday continued to advance towards the strategic port town of Mocha on the Red Sea after pushing rebels out of nearby regions.

Unable to fight off the marching forces head-to-head, the rebels planted a huge number of landmines and deployed snipers on hilly positions near Mocha. Two explosives’ experts loyal to the government were killed and several injured by Al Houthis snipers.

Army commanders in the area said on Thursday that warplanes and navy ships from the Saudi-led coalition launched heavy missile attacks on Al Houthis military defences to make the way for the ground forces to advance towards Mocha.

Al Houthis would lose another major supply route of arms from Iran if the government forces took control of the town of Mocha in the coming days. Dozens of the rebel forces have been killed or captured since January 6 when the army troops and allied resistance fighters launched a major military operation to eject the Al Houthis from the entire western coast of the country, including Taiz and Hodeida.

Similar clashes also raged on Thursday on several mountains outside Al Houthis — held Sana’a where the government forces seek to make a big territorial gain.