By Ali Aweida
At least 14 Shia Houthi militiamen were killed in Yemen’s western port city of Midi in air raids carried out by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, according to a Friday statement issued by the Yemeni military.
"The militiamen were killed late Thursday when coalition aircraft targeted Houthi concentrations in the area,” the statement read, adding that army forces had also managed to repulse a Houthi attempt to retake areas of the port city lost earlier.
Houthi spokesmen have yet to comment on the army’s assertions.
Recent weeks have seen sporadic clashes in Midi between the Houthis and forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed government.
In 2015, the Houthis captured Midi -- located in Yemen’s western Hajjah province -- but later lost much of it to pro-government forces backed by Saudi-led coalition air power.
The Yemeni government and its Arab allies accuse the Shia militia group of using the strategic port city for smuggling arms into Sanaa, Yemen’s Houthi-held capital.
Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh overran Sanaa and other parts of the country.
The conflict escalated one year later when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a wide-ranging air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up the country’s pro-Saudi government.