ADEN   -    At least seven pro-government soldiers were killed in a missile attack launched by the Houthi rebels in Yemen’s southern province of Dhalea early on Sunday, a military official told Xinhua. The Houthi rebels carried out an attack against the pro-government military sites located near Qataba district in Dhalea’s northern suburbs, said the local military official, who asked to remain anonymous.

“A heat-seeking missile fired by the Houthis targeted a military vehicle of the 1st Armored Brigade, leaving seven soldiers killed in the area,” said the source.

He said that intense armed confrontations broke out between the Houthi rebels and the pro-government forces in Dhalea’s northern parts following the attack.

The Houthi fighters attempted to recapture key military sites they lost in previous battles with the pro-government forces in Dhalea.

The pro-government Yemeni forces managed to make on-ground advancement and managed to expel the Houthi rebels out from several villages located in Dhalea during the past weeks.

In April, the Iranian-allied Houthi fighters launched a series of intense armed attacks on the positions of government forces and succeeded in seizing the district of Al Husha in the west of Dhalea.

The areas in the north and west of Dhalea, 138 km north of Aden, have been witnessing the non-stop fighting between government forces and Houthi fighters for about four years.

Yemen has been plagued by a civil war since late 2014 after Houthi rebels revolted and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.