Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition launched a major offensive on Wednesday to retake the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, despite UN warnings of a “catastrophic humanitarian impact”.
Field commanders said that troops pushed towards Hodeida airport after Yemeni pro-government forces received a “green light” from the coalition.
Coalition sources said the alliance carried out 18 air strikes on Huthi positions on the outskirts of Hodeida on Wednesday.
According to medical sources in the province, 22 Huthi militants were killed by coalition raids, while three pro-government fighters were killed in a rebel ambush south of Hodeida.
Yemen’s government said on Tuesday that negotiations had failed to force the rebels from Hodeida, and that a grace period for UN-led peace efforts was over.
The United Nations on Monday withdrew its international staff from Hodeida, saying an attack would “impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.”