ADEN, Yemen, July 17 (Xinhua) -- At least nine gunmen of the Shiite Houthi group were killed and nearly 15 others injured during armed confrontations with the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces in southwestern Yemen on Monday, a military official told Xinhua. The armed confrontations occurred in Taiz province between the Shiite Houthi gunmen and the Saudi-backed government forces in areas located around Khalid-bin Walid strategic military base in the western parts of Taiz province, the military source said on condition of anonymity. The military source based in the coastal city of Mocha confirmed that the Saudi-backed government forces made ground advances and managed to cut off Houthi supply lines between Taiz and Hodyada province. Warplanes of the Saudi-led Arab coalition air-covered the pro-government forces on-ground and launched a series of intensive airstrikes on Houthi-controlled positions, the source said. He added that the Saudi-led airstrikes on the Houthi-controlled military bases put pressure on the rebels, forcing some of them to flee their positions. Another pro-government army commander told Xinhua in an exclusive phone interview saying that an army officer and eight soldiers were injured in the fighting with Houthi rebels. 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 militarily in September 2014. The legitimate government controls the south and some eastern parts, while the Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, 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. Enditem
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