Sanaa, Oct 21 (IANS): Forces of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government launched military operations against sites held by the Houthi militia in the oil-rich southern province of Shabwa, a military source said.
"The government's military operations launched against the Houthi-held sites in the oil-rich district of Usaylan in Shabwa, sparking intense fighting between the two warring rivals in the area," the source told Xinhua news agency.
The anti-Houthi military operations were launched simultaneously from different directions and succeeded in recapturing a series of mountainous heights and other key sites from the rebels in Usaylan, he added.
The Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition stepped up military operations in an attempt to achieve a breakthrough by securing the country's energy-rich provinces and blocking the rebels' on-ground progress, according to the official.
During the past 24 hours, the Saudi-led coalition declared carrying out 26 aerial attacks against the Houthi-held sites in the neighbouring province of Marib.
According to the coalition's press release, the air raids resulted in killing more than 82 Houthi fighters and damaging 11 military vehicles.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched in February a major offensive toward Marib in an attempt to seize control of the province, the last northern stronghold of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.