SANAA: Heavy fighting in Yemen between pro-government forces and Iran backed Houthi militia left more than 250 Houthi militants killed, among them 20 senior field commanders.
Yemeni defense sources quoted by Saudi Press Agency said that heavy fighting on Yemen western coast line south of Hodeidah port killed 250 Houthi militants. The defense source added that 140 Iran backed Houthi militiamen were captured by the advancing units of the Yemeni army supported by the Saudi led Arab coalition airforce.
The fighting has escalated as government forces close in on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen’s food and medicine enters.
The United States urged all parties of the conflict to ensure humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday. The US, he said, is closely following developments in Hodeidah and urged Emirati leaders to preserve “the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.”
The United Nations warned Friday that a military attack or siege on Hodeida would affect hundreds of thousands of civilians. Some 600,000 people live in and around the city.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday that there has been a recent lull in the fighting and that Martin Griffiths, the UN envoy for Yemen, “is shuttling between Sana’a and also the UAE and Saudi Arabia to hope that there will be a way to avoid the military confrontation in Hodeidah.”
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war pitting the coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis since March 2015. The coalition aims to restore the government of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to0 Sanaa.
The three-year stalemated war has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 3 million according to the UN.
The UN considers Yemen to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22.2 million people in need of assistance. Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years.