Yemen pro-govt forces seize Hodeida airport from rebels: coalition

Malaysia's military involvement in Saudi-led war in Yemen must end - Lawyers for Liberty

Yemeni government forces enter Hodeida airport, UAE says

Abuzaraa al-Mahrabi, a commander for the Army loyal to the internationally-backed Yemeni government said that Houthi insurgents had relinquished control of the airport and fled north back into Hudaydah city.

The news conference came as the United Arab Emirates leads Yemeni fighters in an assault on the rebel-held port city of Hodeida that has been criticized by worldwide rights groups.

Yemeni fighters backed by the United Arab Emirates said they seized the southern runway of the global airport near Yemen's port city of Hodeida, as fighting raged Wednesday between pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed rebels.

After almost a month of sporadic clashes between Houthi forces and the coalition, coupled with Hadi's militia, in the volatile province of Hudaydah, the latter two launched a major offensive on June 13 to take the Houthi-held Hudaydah, a densely-populated city and the war-torn country's most vital port, which is the entry point for 70 percent of the impoverished country's imports. A Yemeni military source confirmed to AFP that troops had entered the rebel base at the disused airport on the southern edge of the city.

It lies eight kilometres (five miles) from the city's port, through which three-quarters of Yemen's imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

But after the UN's top envoy for Yemen flew out of the capital Tuesday without announcing a breakthrough in mediation, hope is dwindling for Ahmed.

According to the United Nations, which has limited access to Yemen, hundreds of thousands of people have fled fighting and as many as 8 million people were on the brink of starvation.

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The Hodeida offensive, dubbed Operation Golden Victory, is the most intense battlefront in the already-brutal Yemen war which has left millions displaced.

On the other side, Bishr said, Houthi fighters are firing back using tanks, adding that "smokes could be seen rising above the airport amid the air strikes and tanks' shelling".

Military sources also reported 33 Huthis and 19 soldiers killed in Tuesday's battle, bringing the death toll in Hodeida this week to 216 fighters. He declined to offer the nationalities nor the numbers of troops now fighting in the Saudi-led coalition around Hodeida, only saying it had "numerical superiority" over the Houthis.

The violence has devastated Yemen's basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the United Nations to describe the situation as one of "the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times". The war has killed more than 10,000 people in all.

The coalition has helped pro-government forces to regain control of the south and much of the Red Sea coast but the rebels still control Sanaa and most of the north.

The following year, UN-sponsored peace talks held in Kuwait failed to end the destructive conflict.

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