Over 75 Reported Slain in Heavy Weekend Fighting in Southwest Yemen

Saudi Spokesman: Big Number of Houthis, Lesser Number of Our Soldiers Killed

by Jason Ditz, January 22, 2017

Heavy fighting in southwest Yemen, a flurry of Saudi airstrikes and a pair of reported US drone strikes have made this weekend one of the bloodiest in recent Yemeni history, with over 75 people reported slain according to various estimates.

The heaviest fighting was reported in the area southeast of the city of al-Mokha, where Saudi-backed forces made an attempt to overrun an air defense base long held by the Houthi movement. Saudi forces are said to be within five or six miles of the city now.

As is so often the case, the Saudi coalition leadership was quick to claim that the casualties were heavier on the other side, with a spokesman declaring that they had “killed a big number of al-Houthis and a lesser number of our soldiers were killed in the fighting.

Exact figures are expected to be in dispute, but Saudi officials claimed “at least 52” Houthis slain. Hospital officials in the pro-Saudi city of Aden reported 14 soldiers slain so far. The US drone strikes killed at least 10 people, all labeled “al-Qaeda suspects.”

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