Houthis encounter fierce resistance in Yemeni city of Taiz

Houthis encounter fierce resistance in Yemeni city of Taiz
Analysis: Houthi militias and allied forces have become embroiled in a fierce fight over the city of Taiz with the forces of the Popular Resistance.
3 min read
26 May, 2015
A member of the Popular Resistance forces stands guard in Taiz [Getty]

Fierce fighting has broken out as the forces of the Ansar Allah movement - known as the Houthis - and forces loyal to their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, battle for control of the city of Taiz in southern Yemen.

Five snipers from the Houthis' forces were killed and three others injured in the western al-Manakh area of Taiz on Sunday afternoon when Popular Resistance forces - loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi - launched a surprise attack.

A source in the Popular Resistance told al-Araby al-Jadeed that their forces attacked positions belonging to the Houthis and rebel Yemeni army units loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh in al-Manakh.

Popular Resistance forces attacked positions belonging to the Houthis and rebel Yemeni army units in al-Manakh.

Fighters managed to capture some of the tall buildings at the entrance of al-Manakh, said the source. They killed five snipers and captured three others after attacking the buildings where the snipers were based.

Popular Resistance are thought to have used rocket-propelled grenades and M72 LAW rockets, an anti-tank weapon, in the attack.

The source said three fighters from Popular Resistance were killed and five injured in the attack.

Local residents said Special Forces supporting the Houthis in the al-Manakh area shelled residential buildings, using a tank based in the area. The residents said the bombing of al-Manakh began this morning, following yesterday's surprise attack by the Popular Resistance.

Indiscriminate bombardment

For the past two days, Houthi forces supported by rebel army units have also been bombarding residential areas in central Taiz.

Eyewitnesses said the bombardment of Taiz, which continued until this morning, was unprecedented in its intensity and the destruction caused.

Houthi militias and rebel army units have been using mortars and tanks, attacking residential buildings and shops in addition to military targets. The areas of al-Ukhuwa, al-Manakh, al-Asifra, al-Haudh al-Ashraf, al-Murur, and al-Hasb have all been attacked.

Rebel units from the Presidential Guard, loyal to Saleh, have also blown up two houses in the al-Jabba area in southern Taiz, according to local sources.

A military source, meanwhile, said the Houthis and rebel army units were continuing to bomb areas of the city indiscriminately.

Popular Resistance units lack military equipment.

The military source described the Houthis' actions as "genocidal" and added the rebels had also bombed Popular Resistance positions in eastern and western Taiz.

The bombing left 17 people dead and 63 injured, according to the latest figures. The dead include four Popular Resistance fighters.

The source also said a mortar launched by rebel army units fighting alongside the Houthis landed on the Suq Arafat market this morning in central Taiz, destroying part of the market.

The military source said Popular Resistance positions bombed by the Houthis and rebel army units loyal to Saleh lacked in military equipment, which the Houthis and their allies were using to their advantage, launching heavy attacks.

The military source also expressed surprise the Saudi-led Arab coalition had failed to provide air support for the Popular Resistance, even though strategic military positions had fallen to the Houthis and the rebels.

In a further development, a truck carrying fuel exploded in the al-Masbah area of central Taiz after it was fired upon.

Eyewitnesses said Popular Resistance fighters opened fire on the truck, which was headed for the depot belonging to the Yemeni Oil Company - now controlled by the Houthis.

Reports indicated 37 people were killed and dozens injured in the explosion.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.