10,000 Arab troops head to Hodeida
AL HOUTHIS STATION FIGHTERS ATOP BUILDINGS AHEAD OF LOOMING ASSAULT
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has sent more than 10,000 new troops towards a vital rebelheld port city ahead of a new assault, Yemeni government officials said yesterday.
The pro-government coalition deployed the reinforcements to the Red Sea coast ahead of a new offensive on Hodeida “within days”, a military official said. He said they would also “secure areas liberated” from the Iran-backed Al Houthi rebels, and that forces from Sudan, part of the coalition, had moved in to “secure” areas around the city.
Al Houthi rebels have for the past 10 days been stationing fighters on rooftops of buildings in Hodeida city, government military officials said.
The adjacent port is the entry point for three quarters of imports to the impoverished country, which is teetering on the edge of famine.
Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the legitimate internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Al Houthis ousted it, capturing swathes of territory, including the capital Sana’a. The coalition has used air power to push the rebels back from much of Yemen, but Al Houthis have held onto Hodeida and Sana’a. After UN-backed talks collapsed in September, the coalition announced it was relaunching an assault on Hodeida.
The fighting has since eased and Saudi-led forces have focused their raids on the city limits. The UN warned last week that 14 million people in Yemen now face a serious threat of famine.