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The Houthis (Ansar Allah) continue to conduct successful defensive and offensive operations against the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies on several fronts.
In the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, the situation remains in the Houthi favor. As of February 11, Saudi-led coalition proxies, led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Giants Brigades, have failed to make any gains despite intense close air support.
The situation in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah is not much different. The Saudi-led coalition spearheaded by forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces’ 5th Military District attempted to attack the district center of Harad but faced some serious problems.
Despite being besieged inside the district center; Houthi fighters continue to conduct counter-attacks.
On February 7, the group fighters managed to capture several positions on the al-Hayjah mount, to the east of Harad, from Saudi-backed forces after a successful counter-attack.
The Houthis have also been also making efforts to break the Saudi-led coalition’s siege on Harad. On February 8, the group fired three ballistic missiles at gatherings of Saudi-backed forces around the district center. On the same day, eight drones launched by the group were intercepted over the district.
The Houthis’ fierce resistance and repeated counter-attacks forced proxies of the Saudi-led coalition to step back. On February 9, Saudi-backed forces moved to the east of Harad where they recaptured some of the positions that they had lost on the al-Hayjah mount.
On February 10, the pro-Saudi wing of the Yemeni Armed Forces deployed more reinforcements around Harad to increase their pressure on the Houthis. On the same day, the Houthis shot down a Chinese-made CASC Rainbow CH-4 combat drone of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) over the district.
In an attempt to neutralize the Houthis’ offensive capabilities, Saudi-led warplanes carried out more than 60 airstrikes on Yemen between February 7 and February 10. The airstrikes targeted the Houthi-held capital, Sanaa, as well as areas held by the group in the provinces of Ma’rib and Hajjah.
The airstrikes were not that effective. On February 10, the Houthis attacked an “important military target” in the Abha International Airport in the southern Saudi province of ‘Asir with a Qasef-2K suicide drone. The attack left 12 people wounded. The Saudi-led coalition vowed to respond by targeting Houthi-held Sanaa harder than ever before.
Any harsh response by the Saudi-led coalition to the attack on Abha International Airport will likely incite the Houthis even further. The group may launch larger and more complex attacks on Saudi Arabia in return.