ADEN, Yemen, Oct 5 (NNN-SABA) – Mortar shells fired by the Shiite Houthi rebels, killed nine fighters loyal to the Saudi-backed government, and injured several others in Taiz province, a military official said.

According to the Yemeni military source, a gathering of fighters, allied with the legitimate government was struck by a barrage of mortar shells, fired by Houthis, on the Hamily area of south-western province of Taiz.

The official, who refused to be identified, said that, more than nine fighters died and several others injured, in the mortar round attack carried out by the Houthis.

He added that the attack occurred while the soldiers were preparing to launch a fresh offensive against the Houthis, and retake control over other areas in the country’s western part.

The pro-Houthi forces usually target the Saudi-backed government forces, positioned in the Red Sea coast city of Mocha and other areas, with heat-seeking missiles and rockets, according to local sources.

Yemen’s internationally-backed government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has, for more than two years, been battling the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, over control of the country.

The coalition began a military air campaign in Mar, 2015, to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate exiled President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government, to power.

The coalition also imposed air and sea blockade, to prevent weapons from reaching the Houthis, who had invaded the capital, Sanaa, militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces.