Yemeni government forces seize Red Sea port of Mokha

Yemeni government forces seize Red Sea port of Mokha
Yemeni government forces flash the sign for victory after they captured the southeastern port of Mokha from Houthi insurgents on Monday. (AFP / SALEH AL-OBEIDI)
Updated 23 January 2017

Yemeni government forces seize Red Sea port of Mokha

Yemeni government forces seize Red Sea port of Mokha

ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni army forces backed by Gulf Arabs fought their way into the Red Sea coast city of Al-Mokha on Monday, military officials said, pushing out Iran-allied Houthi militia.
A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war nearly two years ago to back President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after he was ousted from the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces.
The so-called National Army loyal to Hadi entered the port area on Mokha’s southwestern edge, an army official said.
“Houthi forces began withdrawing this morning, and the city is nearly abandoned after most of its residents departed,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The city and the port under the control of national army.”
A spokesman for rival army forces fighting for the Houthis could not be immediately reached for comment.
At least 10,000 people have died in the mostly stalemated Yemeni conflict, which has unleashed a humanitarian crisis in the already desperately poor Arabian Peninsula country.
While government forces in the south and east nominally hold most of Yemen’s territory, Hadi has struggled to enforce state authority among various militias, militants and tribes. The Houthis control most of Yemen’s population centers in the northwest including Sanaa.
Army forces and a group of militias called the Southern Resistance launched an offensive on the Red Sea coast this month to deprive the Houthis of ports and to isolate them in the inland capital.
The smaller coastal town of Al-Dhubab has been recaptured in the thrust, which has been backed by scores of air strikes and a small contingent of troops and tanks from the United Arab Emirates.

VIDEO: Pro-Hadi fighters push Houthis out of Red Sea port of Mokha