AL-MUKALLA: Yemen government troops backed by the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen’s warplanes on Sunday pushed deeper into the strategic northern city of Haradh after heavy fighting with the Iran-backed Houthis, a Yemeni army spokesperson told Arab News.

Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili said that government troops seized control of parts of battered Haradh in the northern province of Hajjah after defeating Houthi fighters who sought to fight and obstruct government troops by planting thousands of land mines and traps.

“The national troops liberated some neighborhoods in Haradh and are battling their way into the city’s center,” Majili said.

On Friday, Yemen army troops surrounded Haradh after seizing locations on its surrounding eastern edges under Houthi control, including a strategic military base.

Hours later, government troops sent urgent appeals to the besieged Houthi fighters to lay down their arms or they would attack the city.

Videos broadcast by official media showed dozens of army infantry units entering residential areas in Haradh amid blaring sounds of explosions.

Instead of surrendering, the Houthis planted a large number of land mines and IEDs along main roads, deployed snipers inside ruined houses and dug trenches.

Majili said that coalition jets thwarted Houthi attempts to break the siege by targeting military vehicles carrying fighters and equipment arriving from neighboring districts, adding that army engineers are defusing land mines from liberated areas to allow displaced people to return home.

Expelling the Houthis from Haradh would help the Yemeni government reopen the Al-Tewal border crossing with Saudi Arabia, cut Houthi supply routes in Hodeidah and pave the way for the liberation of areas in Hajjah under Houthi control.

Heavy fighting also broke out in other contested areas south of the central province of Marib, where government troops pushed to liberate the Al-Juba and Abedia districts.