The Houthi fighters say they’ve broken an advance by Yemeni forces in the Harf Sufyan district in the country’s north.
According to the fighters, two Yemeni military tanks were destroyed in the heavy clashes in the district. Yemeni ground forces bombarded the area with massive artillery and rocket fire, while Yemeni warplanes targeted northeastern districts. The conflict between the central government in Sana’a and the Houthis of northern Yemen began in 2004 and grew increasingly tense in August, 2009 when the Yemeni army launched Operation Scorched Earth. The government claims that the fighters, who are named after their leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, seek to restore the Shia imamate system, which was overthrown in a 1962 military coup. Yemeni Houthi fighters have accused the Sana’a government of violating their people’s civil rights and undermining them under pressure from Saudi-backed Wahhabi extremists. Shias make up approximately half of the overall Yemeni population. Saudi Arabia also launched its ground and aerial attacks against Houthi fighters after accusing them of killing a Saudi border guard and occupying two border villages on November 3. The Saudi military says more than 130 of their soldiers have been killed in Yemen, with an unspecified number listed as missing in action. The violence has left hundreds of dead and thousands more homeless. The Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross says humanitarian conditions in Yemen are at their worst after five months of fighting between Saudi forces and the Houthi fighters.