Yemen inflicts 'heavy' losses on Shia fighters
Yemen's army claims its forces have inflicted heavy losses on the Zaidi Shia fighters amid preparation for more attacks on their main stronghold of Saada in north of the country, Press TV reported.
"A large number of rebels were killed or wounded in violent clashes which allowed the army to take control of several positions and to prepare an advance on the main road linking Harf Sufyan to Saada," the state Saba news agency cited a military source as saying.
The source said the positions seized were north of Harf Sufyan, a town which the military said it had taken on Thursday.
In other areas of Saada province, soldiers "dealt heavy blows to the rebels" and captured four of them, the news agency quoted the military source as saying.
Operation 'Scorched Earth' which is now in its fifth week, now focused on opening the road between Harf Sufyan in Amran province, the report added.
Artillery has bombarded parts of the road and "the military is now mopping up rebel elements, as well as demining and removing roadside bombs in order to permit the route to be opened up to humanitarian aid convoys," the source added.
Right groups meanwhile warned of worsening humanitarian conditions among the tens of thousands of civilians forced from their homes by the fighting.
Citing the official, the report added that after rebels received "major blows" by the armed forces and saw that "defeat" was imminent, they stepped up their attacks against civilians.
He said the fighters also targeted schools, medical and telecommunication centers and "plundered" them.
The fighters formerly accused the government of preventing civilians from returning to their homes.
The government launched its operation on the Saada province on August 11 to crush the Zaidi Shia fighters, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, who has been engaged in sporadic fighting with government forces since 2004.