Saudi-led alliance says 218 rebels killed near Yemen's Marib

Riyadh (AFP) – The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen said on Sunday that more than 218 Huthi rebels were killed in air strikes around Marib city, the internationally recognised government's last northern bastion.


The Iran-backed Huthis rarely comment on losses, and AFP could not independently verify the toll.

"Twenty-four military vehicles were destroyed and more than 218" insurgents were killed in strikes in the past 72 hours in two districts, according to the official Saudi Press Agency, which has since October 11 issued near-daily reports of bombing around Marib, capital of the oil-rich province of the same name.

Since then the coalition -- which has been fighting in Yemen to support the government for almost seven years -- says it has killed around 2,200 insurgents in the Marib area.

The latest bombing was carried out in Al-Jawba, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Marib, and Al-Kassara, 30 kilometres to the northwest.

The Huthis have reportedly said they were tightening their grip around Marib city, adding it was "only a matter of time" until they seize it.

They began a major push to seize Marib in February and, after a lull, renewed their offensive since September.

The Yemeni civil war began in 2014 when the Huthis seized the capital Sanaa, 120 kilometres (74 miles) west of Marib, prompting Saudi-led forces to intervene to prop up the government the following year.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.