ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces launched on Thursday a wide-scale military operation against the Shiite Houthi rebels in the southwestern province of Taiz, an army commander told Xinhua.
"The fighting is now ferocious and concentrating on the western parts of Taiz. Houthis lost strategic sites," the army commander said on condition of anonymity.
He said the Saudi-led warplanes are supporting the on-ground anti-Houthi military campaign and many locations were precisely targeted by several airstrikes.
The pro-government forces are determined to break the three-year siege imposed by Houthis on Taiz, which has led to a huge humanitarian crisis in the city, the source noted.
Meanwhile, another source close to the Saudi-led coalition in Aden told Xinhua that "the large anti-Houthi military operation will continue during the next days to push the rebels out of the whole province."
In response, the pro-Houthi forces launched a heavy artillery shelling against the residential neighborhoods in Taiz, causing casualties among civilians.
"A number of shells landed on the Alwaleed public market, injuring nearly 10 civilians in addition to destroying public properties," a resident in Taiz said.
The Saudi-led military coalition has intensified air campaign against Houthi positions in and around the Houthi-held capital Sanaa and other northern provinces since the rebels killed former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Dec. 4.
The coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to roll back Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in support of internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who was forced into exile in Saudi Arabia.
The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly children, and displaced 3 million others, triggering the world's largest humanitarian catastrophe.
Tensions have escalated in Sanaa and other northern provinces after Houthis killed their top ally strongman Saleh after he changed alliance to back the anti-Houthi coalition.