Houthi field leader hurt in clashes with army [Archives:2008/1163/Front Page]

May 12 2008

By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
SA'ADA, June 11 ) Houthi field leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi was hurt by mortar shells on his right hand and, “We fear that doctors may decide to sever [it],” sources related to the injured leader said Sunday.

The same sources report that the injured leader is being treated in a safe area near the Saudi Arabian border. “His condition is stable and there are no fears that he may risk death,” they went on to say, noting that, “Another leader is assuming Abdulmalik's role temporarily during Houthis' fight with the [Yemeni] army.”

Regarding confrontations between government troops and Houthi supporters, the injured leader's office said in a statement that Yemeni army forces struck a safe area in Al-Awar area near Dhahian city and north of the provincial capital in an effort to end a 10-day lockdown on several military brigades in that area.

Published by Marebpress.net, the statement added that Yemeni government forces are using Katyusha rockets and mortars in their attacks against Houthi fighters who are besieging the area.

The statement confirmed that the fiercest clashes are occurring in Mirran area, noting that army personnel have been extensively advancing toward the area to free besieged brigades since the largest operations began in Khawlan Bani Amer district.

It further mentioned that the Yemeni army has mobilized further weaponry and ordinance in its attacks on main Houthi strongholds with the aim of seizing control of several strategic positions believed to be hampering its progress.

Regarding clashes in Bani Hushaish district northeast of Sana'a, the Houthi statement denied army claims to have taken over the entire area, following an announcement by Yemen's Interior Ministry asserting that Yemeni military and security forces had driven Houthis from Sana'a's eastern suburbs.

According to the statement, the ministry revealed to the media numerous non-Houthi individuals whom it says surrendered themselves in response to a call by Interior Minister Mutahar Rashad Al-Masri. It pointed out that those who surrendered are ordinary citizens loyal to the Yemeni government and with no connections to Houthi supporters.

The statement further noted that Houthi fighters are taking over the majority of Bani Hushaish areas, such as Wadi Rijam, Ghadran, Beit Al-Aghrabi, Beit Al-Qahm and Al-Sharaya, a fact confirmed by neutral tribal sources. It stated that Houthi loyalists seized control of two strategic mountaintop positions the Yemeni army had been using in its operations against Houthis on Sunday.

Both neutral and media sources report that fighter jets and tanks struck and completely destroyed Nawas village in Saqain district on Sunday. They say dozens on both sides were killed or injured, adding that even residents' cattle were victims of the armed operations.

The sources further maintain that the Yemeni army attacked Assaya village in Majaz district last week, leaving more than 20 – mostly women and children – dead in the bloodiest events ever seen in that area.

Houthi reports published photos of children trapped by the rubble and others whose bodies were pulled from the rubble. The victims shown in the report photos included infants killed amid the terrible devastation of their homes last week.

Additionally, the Yemeni Socialist Party-affiliated Aleshteraki.net reported that nearly 100 Yemeni soldiers were killed and 14 others held captive in a Houthi ambush against a military supply caravan in Amran governorate's Harf Sifyan on its way to Sa'ada last Friday.

The web site confirmed that only 10 tanks and two minesweepers from the caravan were able to continue on their way to Sa'ada, noting that the caravan ambush death toll is one of the largest the Yemeni army has suffered in a single Houthi attack.

According to the web site, the bloody confrontations between Yemeni military forces and Houthi loyalists in Sa'ada have been fierce since the fifth war broke out last month.

Mohammed Jassim Al-Saqr, speaker of the Transitional Arab Parliament, expressed his willingness to send a delegate from the Kuwait-based Parliament to Yemen to contribute to settling the ongoing clashes between the two sides.

“This delegate would expend much effort to end this destructive fighting in Yemen,” Kuwait's KUNA News Agency quoted Al-Saqr, also a member of Kuwait's National Assembly, as saying on Thursday.

The Kuwaiti official warned against any plots intended to fuel conflicts and civil wars in the Arab world, as “Such conflicts and wars may hinder Arab states' efforts to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Al-Saqr pointed out.

The current fighting in Sa'ada, which broke out four weeks ago, has drawn stronger regional attention than in the past, particularly after Saudi Arabia called for ending the fighting via peaceful means for the first time since the initial Sa'ada War broke out in June 2004.