AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni army commander was among at least 100 combatants killed in the past 24 hours outside the central city of Marib, as Arab coalition warplanes intensified air raids on Houthi targets, officials said.

Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani died while commanding government troops who were fighting off Houthi incursions into the strategic Al-Balaq mountain range that overlooks part of the city.

“The hero Gen. Nasser Al-Thaybani was martyred early on Monday after a bullet from a Houthi sniper hit his head,” Rashad Al-Mekhlafi, a military official at Yemen’s Armed Forces Guidance Department, told Arab News.

He said the commander was leading forces that pushed the Houthis back from the eastern parts of the mountain.

At least 100 Houthis were killed in Marib province after troops mounted a counteroffensive on the militia, who made a rare incursion into Al-Balaq after heavily shelling loyalist locations at the weekend.

Troops expelled the Houthis from Al-Balaq and were currently battling them in desert areas south of Marib, Al-Mekhlafi said. He added that the Houthi had mobilized elite forces to seize control of Al-Balaq.

“The Houthi seizure of even a small part of Al-Balaq would pose a serious threat to Marib.”