ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Battles over the control of Yemen's oil-rich province of Shabwa continued to intensify between the Houthi rebels and government forces on Friday, a military official told Xinhua.
"The Houthi rebel group stormed three key districts in Shabwa and deployed its fighters there but faced tough resistance from the government forces," the local military source said on condition of anonymity.
"Heavy forces loyal to Yemen's government were mobilized from different areas in the country's southern part and succeeded in confronting the Houthi offensive against Shabwa," he said.
In Shabwa's western part, particularly the oil-rich district of Usaylan, the government forces expelled the Houthis from a number of areas following days of fighting, he clarified.
During the past 48 hours, nearly 98 members of the Houthi rebel group were killed by the government forces backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Shabwa, according to the Yemeni official.
Another local official said that the fighting is still going on as the Houthis apparently aim at capturing Usaylan district with a large oil field.
"The Houthi militia received reinforcements and began preparations for raiding Usaylan and other areas in Shabwa again," he said anonymously.
In 2017, the Yemeni government forces backed by Saudi Arabia-led coalition launched a large military campaign and expelled the Houthi rebels out of all the strategic areas in Shabwa.
The Houthi militia recently intensified their military operations against the government-controlled areas in different parts of the war-ravaged Arab country, and succeeded in capturing key areas from the government forces.