Yemeni forces launch massive new offensive to capture Hodeidah from Houthis

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Yemeni pro-government forces gather on a main road on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida, as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels on November 8, 2018. (AFP)
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Yemeni pro-government forces advance towards central Hodeida, as they continue to battle for the control of the city controlled by Huthi rebels, on November 8, 2018. (AFP)
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Yemeni pro-government forces gather in a highway as they advance towards central Hodeida, while they continue to battle for the control of the city controlled by Huthi rebels, on November 8, 2018. (AFP)
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Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida, as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Huthi rebels on November 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018

Yemeni forces launch massive new offensive to capture Hodeidah from Houthis

  • Trump’s administration is thinking about classifying the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization
  • Yemen’s government said its forces had advanced toward the north and western sides of Hodeidah

JEDDAH: Yemeni government forces fighting n have taken the main hospital from the Houthi militia in the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, government military officials said Saturday.
The May 22 Hospital lies in the east of the militia-held city, a key aid conduit that is the target of a renewed offensive by the Saudi and Emirati-backed government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Yemeni government forces backed by the Arab coalition launched a “vast offensive” to take full control of Hodeidah on Friday.
The internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden said national army forces had advanced toward the north and western sides of the city.

“Fierce battles are taking place at these moments,” the statement said.

A total of 110 Houthi rebels have been killed in the last 24 hours of clashes in Hodeidah along with 22 pro-government troops fighting to retake the port city, AFP reported Friday.
The latest deaths raised to 382 the number of fighters killed on both sides since the battle for Hodeidah intensified on November 1.
The offensive follows a week of fighting as pro-government troops advanced into the city’s suburbs.
The Houthis have controlled Hodeidah since 2014 when they overran the capital Sanaa and the north of the country.
They have been driven out of virtually all of the south and much of the Red Sea coast by pro-government forces and the Arab coalition, which intervened to restore the government in 2015.
The offensive comes as it emerged Donald Trump’s administration is thinking about classifying the Iran backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, the Washington Post reported.
The move would be part of a US campaign to end the war in Yemen and put pressure on Iran.
The terrorist classification, which would be made by the State Department, has been discussed frequently since at least 2016. But the matter was reviewed recently as the White House tries to outline a tough stance on Iranian-linked groups across the Middle East, the newspaper reported.
A variety of potential actions that could be taken against the Houthi militia, including lesser measures to punish them, have been considered by the administration.
However, a decision has not yet been made and it is unclear how far deliberations about the terrorist classification had progressed.
Aid agencies have warned that the fighting in Hodeidah could further exacerbate the desperate humanitarian situation in the country.
The United Nations’ refugee agency said on Friday that most of the 600,000 population of Hodeida has fled but expressed concern about those trapped in the city.
The war in Yemen has become focussed in Hodeidah, the country’s biggest port and main point of imports, including aid.


Israel records highest single-day virus tally

Updated 36 min 1 sec ago

Israel records highest single-day virus tally

  • Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon”
  • Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns

JERUSALEM: Israel has recorded its highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed in the most recent daily count, the health ministry said Friday.
Israel had won early praise for its virus containment efforts, but cases have surged since a broad re-opening began in May.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in a late Thursday news conference that the decision to allow businesses, including bars and event spaces, to re-open may have been made “too soon.”
“I take responsibility for it,” he told reporters.
From midnight (2100 GMT) on Wednesday to midnight on Thursday, the health ministry registered 1,504 new coronavirus infections — the highest single-day tally since Israel confirmed its first case on February 21.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 36,000 cases, including 351 deaths.
Various restrictions have been re-imposed, including the closure of venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
Limits on the number of people allowed in restaurants and places of worship have also been reinstated.
Certain towns and city neighborhoods across the country considered virus hotspots have been placed under more robust lockdowns.
Israel’s director of public health services, Siegal Sadetzki, resigned this week, blasting her superiors for ignoring her advice and steering Israel’s virus response off course.
“Despite repeated warnings in different forums, we are watching with frustration as our window of opportunity (to contain the virus) is running out,” Sadetzki said in a Facebook post announcing her resignation.