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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition 'kills 165 Houthi rebels' as battle for Marib rages

The coalition claims it has killed at least 1,000 Houthi rebels during the past week of fighting for the oil-rich province
Yemeni pro-government fighter fires at positions of Houthi rebels as they inch closer to the strategic city of Marib on 27 September (AFP/File photo)

The Saudi-led military coalition supporting Yemen's government said it has killed at least 165 Houthi rebels in strikes south of Marib during the past 24 hours, as the battle for the strategic city rages.

The Sunday strikes "destroyed 10 military vehicles and killed more than 165" rebels in the Abdiya district, the coalition said in a statement cited by the official Saudi Press Agency.

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The coalition has said it has killed around 1,000 Iran-backed rebels in strikes in the area in the past week, making daily announcements of at least dozens of rebel deaths.

The Houthis rarely comment on losses and the tolls could not be independently verified.

The Houthis began a major push to seize Marib, the internationally recognised government's last bastion in oil-rich northern Yemen, in February, and have renewed their offensive in recent weeks after a lull.

The Houthis said on Twitter Sunday that they had taken control of several fronts around Marib, including Abdiya, which lies about 60 miles south of the city.

Seven years of war 

The conflict in Yemen erupted in September 2014 when the Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, 75 miles west of Marib, sparking a civil war that forced President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to seek refuge in Aden and then Saudi Arabia.

Yemen

The kingdom and its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, intervened in March 2015 and have since carried out more than 22,000 air strikes in an effort to roll back the Houthis, with one-third striking non-military sites.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The UN this week called for a halt to fighting in Abdiya, where it said the movement of aid to tens of thousands of people had been "extremely restricted".

Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Council voted against renewing the body's mandate for investigating war crimes in Yemen, narrowly rejecting a resolution led by the Netherlands to give the independent investigators another two years to monitor atrocities. 

It marked the first time in the council's 15-year history that a resolution was defeated.