Ongoing battles in Yemen's Marib kill 84: source

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ADEN, Yemen, June 23 (Xinhua) -- More than 84 people were killed during the past 48 hours as fighting intensified between government forces and the Houthi rebels in Yemen's northeastern province of Marib, a government official told Xinhua on Wednesday.

According to the local official who asked to remain anonymous, the most intense battles were erupted ferociously between the two warring rivals over the control of key areas on the northern part of the oil-rich province of Marib.

He said the Houthis launched a major attack on the military positions of government forces, and that their attacks were repulsed after violent battles that left dozens killed and wounded on both sides.

He confirmed that the battles are still taking place fiercely on all fronts in the north, northwest and west of the government-controlled province of Marib.

He said the fighting left 28 members of the government forces killed and nearly 56 fighters of the Houthi rebel group were killed during the past 48 hours in Marib's fighting.

The Houthi media outlets reported that the the Saudi Arabia-led coalition carried out 27 airstrikes against the group's positions in Marib.

During the past hours, the Houthis renewed their missile attacks on Marib, weeks after a relative calm on all fronts of fighting in the strategic Yemeni province.

The Houthi rebels began in February a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture the oil-rich province of Marib, which hosts over 2 million internally displaced people from across the country's northern provinces.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned that the assault on Marib could lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe.

Previous UN-brokered negotiations between Yemen's warring sides and other relevant parties have failed to produce any agreement of cease-fire.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi rebels seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa. Enditem

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