Yemeni forces inching closer to Hodeida city

Filed on November 5, 2018 | Last updated on November 5, 2018 at 06.21 am
Yemeni forces inching closer to Hodeida city

(AFP file photo)

Residents said they could hear exchanges of fire in the area.

Yemeni forces backed by Saudi-led coalition inched closer to the Red Sea port city of Hodeida on Sunday as they battled Iranianaligned Houthi fighters entrenched there, local military sources and residents said on Sunday.

The coalition has deployed thousands of troops to retake Hodeida, a vital entry point for imports and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis after more than three years of war.

Fighting was focused around the airport, and also at the eastern entrance to the city and near a university that lies 4km south of the port, which handles most of Yemen's imports. "This is the first time clashes have reached this point (the university)," one Yemeni military source said.

Residents said they could hear exchanges of fire in the area. The alliance faces a challenge to seize the heavily-defended city without causing heavy casualties at time of increasing global scrutiny over the war.

The alliance of Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in Yemen in 2015 to oust the Houthis and restore the internationally recognised government.A previous attempt to take the city in June ran into difficulties and was halted ahead of UN-led peace consultations in Geneva which collapsed in September after the Houthis failed to show up.

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