Hodeida (Yemen) (AFP) – At least 149 people including civilians have been killed in 24 hours of clashes between government loyalists and rebels in Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida, medics and military sources said Monday.
A military official in Hodeida confirmed seven civilians had died, without giving further details.
The Red Sea port city, controlled by Yemen’s Huthi rebels since 2014, is a vital entry point for aid into the impoverished country.
A source in Yemen’s pro-government military coalition, which is backed by a Saudi-led military alliance, said the Huthis had pushed back a large-scale offensive aimed at moving towards Hodeida port.
Medics in hospitals across the city reported 110 rebels and 32 loyalist fighters killed overnight.
Sources at the Al-Alfi military hospital, seized by the rebels during their 2014 takeover, said charred body parts had been delivered there overnight.
Military sources confirmed that the Saudi-led alliance had targeted the rebels with multiple air strikes.
Nearly 600 people have been killed since clashes erupted on November 1 in Hodeida, one of Yemen’s most densely populated cities.
Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the Yemeni government’s fight against the Iran-backed Huthis in 2015, triggering what the UN now calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The Hodeida port is a vital lifeline for aid deliveries to Yemenis across the war-torn country, where 14 million people face imminent famine.
The port has been under blockade by the Saudi-led coalition for a year.
The alliance accuses Iran of smuggling arms to the Huthis through the Hodeida port.
Tehran denies the charges.