Yemen’s Houthi rebels have wrested control of a strategic city in the country’s north, officials said, in a major blow to the internationally recognised government and the Saudi-led coalition that backs it.
The officials said on Sunday the Shia fighters took control of Hazm, the capital of the province of Jawf, following weeks of fighting between the Iran-aligned group and government forces backed by Saudi-led allies.
The fall of Hazm would pave the way for the rebels to come closer to the central province of Marib, the only safe spot in Yemen for those opposing the Houthis.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been convulsed by civil war since 2014. The Saudi-led coalition intervened against the Houthis the following year.
The rebels earlier this year seized a key supply line linking Marib with Jawf, located along the border with Saudi Arabia.
A Houthi official said they pushed the government forces out of the city, and are “now chasing them on its outskirts”. Two government officials confirmed the fall of Hazm.