SANAA, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — Thirty-seven Houthi militants were killed on Saturday in a battle with the Yemeni army in Yemen’s central province of Marib, government military source told Xinhua.

The ground battle took place in the area of al-Balak al-Sharki in the government-controlled southern Marib, during which the army recaptured several positions of the militia, he said on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led Arab coalition backing the Yemeni army announced the launch of 23 airstrikes, killing 160 Houthi militants and destroying 17 vehicles in southern Marib frontline, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported. Houthi media made no comment on the battle. In February last year, the Iran-backed Houthi militia began a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture the strategic oil-rich province.