AL-MUKALLA: The Houthis on Saturday criticized the UN Security Council for demanding they release a hijacked UAE-flagged ship.
Militia official Hussein Al-Azzi Houthi rejected the UN’s calls to free the ship and repeated claims it had been carrying weapons for the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen.
“The ship was also not loaded with dates or children’s toys, but was loaded with weapons,” he tweeted, accusing the UN of “misleading public opinion.”
The Houthis seized the vessel, which was carrying medical supplies from the remote Yemeni island of Socotra to the Saudi port of Jazan, on Jan. 3.
Their defiance came as government troops, backed by coalition air support, on Friday and Saturday took control of new mountainous locations south and west of the city of Marib.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry and local media reports said there were intensified attacks on pockets of Houthis fighting in Hareb district, south of Marib.
Troops also pushed almost 10 km into Houthi-controlled territory in Juba district, mainly in the Al-Balaq Al-Sharqi mountain range.
The Houthis have suffered massive setbacks since the start of this year, when troops took control of three districts in the oil-rich province of Shabwa and later advanced into Hareb district.
The coalition on Saturday urged Yemenis not to drive through main roads linking Marib and Al-Bayda with Hareb, Bayhan and Ouselan districts, declaring them “areas of operations” amid fighting on the ground and coalition airstrikes.
The coalition also announced killing at least 345 Houthis and destroying 37 militia vehicles in 60 airstrikes over the past 24 hours in the provinces of Al-Bayda and Marib.
Yemeni Landmine Records, which documents victims of mines or unexploded ordnances, said Friday that Houthi landmines had killed 38 government fighters and civilians since earlier this month in Shabwa and Marib provinces.
Landmine specialist Musa Abdullah Al-Harethi was killed on Saturday while defusing a device planted by the Houthis in Ouselan district. Two children were killed in a blast caused by a landmine in Al-Khoka, south of Hodeidah province, the organization said.