Yemen forces begin battle for vital port

Jun 14, 2018, 08:18 IST | Agencies

Field commanders said that troops pushed towards Hodeida airport after Yemeni pro-government forces received a "green light" from the coalition

Yemen forces begin battle for vital port
The offensive is controversial because the port serves as the entry point for 70 per cent of Yemen’s imports. Pic/AFP

Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition have launched a major offensive to retake the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, despite UN warnings of a "catastrophic humanitarian impact".

Field commanders said that troops pushed towards Hodeida airport after Yemeni pro-government forces received a "green light" from the coalition. The offensive is controversial because the port serves as the entry point for 70 per cent of Yemen's imports as the country teeters on the brink of famine.

The coalition accuses the Huthi rebels of using the port to secure Iranian arms, notably the ballistic missiles the militants have increasingly fired into Saudi territory. Coalition sources said the alliance carried out 18 air strikes on Huthi positions on the outskirts of Hodeida yesterday.

According to medical sources in the province, 22 Huthi fighters were killed by coalition raids, while three pro-government fighters were killed in a rebel ambush south of Hodeida. The port city, home to 6,00,000 people, was captured by the Iran-backed insurgents in 2014 along with the capital Sanaa.

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