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Yemen army takes control of new positions in Houthi stronghold northwest of Saada

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Yemeni Army deputy chief of staff Major General Ahmad Saif Al Yafii (R) speaks to soldiers from inside a vehicle at the port of the western Yemeni coastal town of Mokha as they advance in a bid to try to drive the Shiite Huthi rebels away from the Red Sea coast on February 9, 2017. Yemeni rebels hit back at government forces advancing up the Red Sea coast killing a deputy army commander in a missile strike, a military source said on February 22. / AFP PHOTO / SALEH AL-OBEIDI

The Yemeni army on Thursday took control of new positions in the Kataf district, northwest of Saada province, the main stronghold of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Saudi state-owned news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.

Brigadier General Diab Al-Qabali said that .0the army had taken control of the northern front of the Kataf district after heavy fighting with the Houthi militia, who suffered heavy losses.

Al-Qabali said, in a statement posted on the army website, that more than 20 militias were killed and several others wounded.

He also confirmed that army forces have besieged the militia elements amassed at the center of Kataf district and have been engaged in fierce battles with since the start of the military operations last Saturday, supported by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition.