JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition forces pounded Iran-backed Houthi militia positions in Hodeidah with airstrikes and a ground assault on Wednesday, and recaptured a major road leading into the city.
UAE-trained assault troops known as the Giants, backed by Apache attack helicopters, secured an urban area along 50th Street, which leads to the city’s key Red Sea port facilities about 5 km away.
Military officials said the Houthis had been firing mainly from elevated and rooftop sniper positions, and had now resorted to burning tires to obscure the line of sight of the helicopter gunships. Most civilians had fled the area, they said.
Dozens of fighters have been killed and hundreds wounded both sides since a renewed coalition offensive on the city began at the end of last week, following calls by the Trump administration for a cease-fire by late November.
The fighting has left bodies lying on the ground and inside burnt-out vehicles at the edge of the city, and several civilians have been killed by shelling in residential areas.
The Saudi-led coalition, which seeks to restore to power the internationally recognized Yemeni government, has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015.
Hodeidah is a key entry point for humanitarian aid to Yemen, but is also the major supply route to the Houthis for Iranian weapons and ammunition, including parts for missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia.