39 killed as fight for Ye­men port goes on

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTINSIGHT - Agen­cies

ALDURAIHIMI,YE­MEN: Heavy clashes killed 39 com­bat­ants out­side Ye­men’s rebel-held port city of Hodeida on Thursday, as a Saudi and Uae-backed of­fen­sive to re­take the key aid hub en­tered its sec­ond day.

Ye­men’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels suf­fered 30 fa­tal­i­ties in the fight­ing, which took place two kilo­me­tres from Hodeida air­port, south of the city, med­i­cal sources told AFP. Nine pro-gov­ern­ment troops were killed in the same area, the medics said. Mil­i­tary sources said the deaths were caused by mines and snipers.

An AFP cor­re­spon­dent be­hind the gov­ern­ment lines in Al Duraihimi wit­nessed am­bu­lances ar­riv­ing from the front loaded with dead and wounded.

Saudi-led coali­tion war­planes and Apache he­li­copters pro­vided “con­tin­u­ous” air sup­port to pro­gov­ern­ment forces, strik­ing Huthi po­si­tions, mil­i­tary sources said.

The Huthis have put up a fierce re­sis­tance, how­ever, us­ing snipers to slow the as­sault, the sources added.

The coali­tion-backed troops have also been slowed by the need for de-min­ing oper­a­tions to ad­vance.

The gov­ern­ment side sent sig­nif­i­cant re­in­force­ments to the front on Thursday, ac­cord­ing to mil­i­tary sources and the AFP cor­re­spon­dent.

The Saudi-led coali­tion cap­tured a town south of Hodeida on Thursday as fierce fight­ing and airstrikes pounded the area.

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