As joint forces of the Arab coalition were rapidly moving closer to Hodeidah, battles intensified Wednesday around six kilometers away from the city’s airport, military sources said.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Army said units from the “rapid support forces” were currently positioned in Al-Durayhmi, ahead of entering the strategic port city of Hodeidah from the south.
At least 53 rebels died in fighting around the port city, while seven pro-government fighters were killed and 14 wounded, according to medical sources in Hodeidah province.
Yemeni army spokesman Abdo Abdullah Majali told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday that the rapid forces are trained on fighting inside small neighborhoods, and on chasing militias hiding in fortified buildings.
“Those forces will work on cleaning the buildings before Army personnel enter Hodeidah and completely liberate the city without causing civilians damages,” Majali said.
The spokesman said the liberation of Hodeidah would contribute in helping the rapid move of the Army to several other Yemeni cities, particularly that the province has joint borders with Taiz, Ibb, Al-Mahwit, Dhamar and Hijjah, in addition to being close to the international navigation.
Those advancements came as a military source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthi militias suffer from an unprecedented state of confusion, panic and major collapse at the fronts of Al Saada district.
The sources confirmed that those collapses prevented the rebels from sending military reinforcements that were needed to face joint forces heading towards Hodeidah from the western coastline.
On Wednesday, in a phone call to Hodeidah governor, Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher praised Yemen’s National Army and the Popular Resistance, both backed by the Saudi-led military for their competent role in facing the Houthi militia, which is losing strength every day.
He said fighting was still underway in the province, Yemen’s government-run SABA news agency quoted bin Daghr as saying.
The “liberation of Hodeidah will allow us to secure navigation and maintain security in international waters,” the PM added.