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AFP
November 10, 2018
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110 rebels, 22 loyalists killed in 24 hours in Yemen’s Hodeida

World

AFP
November 10, 2018

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HODEIDA: Yemeni rebels launched fierce barrages of mortar fire Friday as they battled to slow an advance by pro-government forces deeper into the port city of Hodeida, military sources said.

The Shiite Huthi rebels, whose chief has vowed his troops would never surrender despite being vastly outnumbered, shelled government positions in the south of the Red Sea city, loyalist officials said.

But despite the “intense attacks”, loyalist forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, made fresh advances in eastern sectors of Hodeida.On Friday medical sources said that 110 Huthi rebels and 22 pro-government forces had been killed in 24 hours of violence, bringing to at least 382 the number of combatants killed since the battle for Hodeida intensified on November 1. Backed by Saudi air raids, loyalist troops for the first time entered residential neighbourhoods on Thursday, using bulldozers to remove concrete road blocks installed by the rebels.

Nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s commercial imports and practically all UN-supervised humanitarian aid passes through the port.The Huthis have controlled Hodeida since 2014 when they overran the capital Sanaa and swept though much of the rest of the country, triggering the intervention by the Saudi-led coalition the following year and a devastating war of attrition. The rebels have since been driven out of virtually all of the south and much of the Red Sea coast.

Government forces launched their offensive to retake Hodeida in June backed by significant numbers of Emirati ground troops.Their advance into the city of some 600,000 people has been slowed by rebel-dug trenches and minefields.

The Norwegian Refugee Council warned further fighting could cut off roads between Hodeida and Sanaa.“There is now only one viable overland route from Hodeida city to Sanaa, and a very high risk that further aerial or land attacks on roads or bridges could sever access roads between the cities entirely,” it said. This would result in “cutting the last remaining supply route for food, fuel and medicine to many of the estimated 20 million Yemenis who depend on imports through Hodeida”.

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