Houthi militia, backed by troops from archrival Saudi Arabia, moves toward Yemen’s capital

SANA, Yemen – A surging Houthi militia on Thursday advanced toward the Yemeni capital and the southern port city of Aden, at the center of a Saudi-led campaign to restore exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, military officials and residents said.

The rebels staged what appeared to be coordinated attacks in the Yemeni provinces of Shabwa and Marib, forcing government troops to retreat and stage counterattacks near the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as the country’s troubled border with Saudi Arabia.

Marib and its capital, Mahweet, have been a key strategic location. Some Gulf Arab officials recently suggested they planned to retake the province and its major port, Hodeida, which also serves as a gateway to the south.

The Houthis have in recent months have battled Hadi’s loyalists in what has become Yemen’s civil war. More than 10,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the Houthis ousted Hadi’s regime in the wake of last year’s Houthi coup.

Marib province, with a long coastline and dense marshes, is one of the largest natural gas-producing regions in the Middle East.

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