Yemenis check the site of an air raid that hit a funeral reception in the Arhab district, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the capital Sanaa, on February 16, 2017. (AFP photo)
ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Deputy Chief of Staff of Yemen's armed forces Major General Ahmed Saif Al Yafei was killed during armed confrontations with the Shiite Houthi rebels in the Red Sea coast city of Mocha on Wednesday, a government official told Xinhua.
The Shiite Houthi rebels fired a missile that targeted armed forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the Red Sea coast city of Mocha, causing several casualties, the government source said on condition of anonymity.
The newly-appointed deputy chief of staff of Yemen's armed forces was badly wounded in the missile attack and was moved to a nearby public hospital for treatment, but he died there after hours of his arrival, the government source said.
The source said more than 30 soldiers of the Saudi-backed Yemeni forces were injured in the missile attack conducted by Houthis in Mocha.
Al Yafei participated and commanded the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces in the large military operation that kicked out the Shiite Houthi gunmen from Aden and other neighboring provinces in 2015.
An army commander told Xinhua that forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Shiite Houthis launched on Tuesday evening a massive attack against Hadi's forces stationed around Mocha city.
He said that fierce armed confrontations are still ongoing between the two-warring sides in outskirts of Mocha city. The Saudi-led warplanes shelled positions manned by Houthis there.
Last month, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces and allied southern resistance fighters completely seized full control over the city of Mocha along with its seaport and ousted the Shiite Houthi rebels from the strategic area.
Hundreds were either killed or injured in the battles raging in strategic areas located along Yemen's western coast.
The UAE forces engaged in the anti-Houthi military campaign in Mocha and lost a number of its soldiers during the fighting with Houthis.
Scores of fighters from the pro-Houthi forces immediately surrendered themselves to the Saudi-backed government troops while many others fled Mocha city, army commanders said.
Seizing the strategic city of Mocha, located about 75 kilometers away from the Bab al-Mandab strait, is considered as a big loss for the Shiite Houthis, according Yemeni observers.
Yemen has been suffering from a civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention for around two years. The civil war began after the Houthi militants with support from forces loyal to the former president ousted the UN-backed transitional government and occupied capital Sanaa in September 2014.
The legitimate government controls the south and some eastern parts, while the Houthi /Saleh alliance controls the other parts, including the capital Sanaa.
The UN has sponsored peace talks between the warring factions several times, but the factions failed to reach common ground.
The civil war, ground battles and airstrikes have already killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians, injured more than 35,000 others and displaced over two millions, according to humanitarian agencies.