World, Middle East

Yemeni army advances into Al-Hudaydah amid clashes

Army claims to make substantial gains in strategic coastal province

Yemeni army advances into Al-Hudaydah amid clashes

By Mohamed al-Samei 

SANAA, Yemen

Government forces have advanced into a district of Yemen’s port city of Al-Hudaydah, a Yemeni military officer said Monday. 

Military forces stormed the Al-Rabsa district where they seized several buildings, Army Colonel Ahmed al-Ajeili was quoted as saying by the army-run September 26 website. 

“Our forces are advancing deep into Al-Hudaydah amid ongoing clashes with Houthi rebels,” he said. 

The army officer said the ongoing operation had resulted in a number of casualties among the rebels, but did not elaborate further. 

There has been no comment from the Houthi leadership regarding the officer’s claim.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani on Monday said that government forces were keen to maintain operations at the port, protect local civilians and infrastructure, and guarantee the continued arrival of commercial goods and humanitarian supplies, Yemen’s official SABA news agency reported.

Speaking from Riyadh, al-Yamani stressed the government's commitment to supporting UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and the latter’s calls for a new round of peace talks before the end of 2018.

Last week, Yemeni government forces launched a fresh military operation to retake Al-Hudaydah -- and its two strategic seaports -- from the Houthis.

Al-Hudaydah receives roughly 70 percent of the commercial imports and humanitarian aid entering the country.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa. 

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

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