Yemen’s National Army has advanced further into several Houthi-controlled neighborhoods in Hodeidah, forcing insurgents to flee to the city center, using residents as human shields and their houses as military bases, a military source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.
The source added that Houthis shelled residential neighborhoods in the Khamseen Street, mills of the Red Sea and west of the Hodeidah airport with missiles and mortar shells.
The German news agency quoted other military sources as saying that “Yemeni forces had fully taken control of the May 22 hospital and its neighboring buildings in the Khamseen Street, east of the city.”
Colonel Ahmad Ali al-Johayli, head of the Giants Brigade, said that the Yemeni army forces advanced in the northern and western parts of Hodeidah with the support of the Arab Coalition.
The Houthis were taken by surprise, he said, adding that the city is witnessing heavy battles and major advances by Yemeni forces.
AFP reported that 132 people had been killed in Hodeidah in 24 hours of violence, including at least 47 Houthi fighters.
Medics at hospitals in government-held territory said 11 soldiers were killed.
The deaths bring the overall toll from seven days of fighting to 250 combatants killed -- 197 rebels and 53 loyalists.
In the Yemeni border province of Saada, the army continued to besiege Houthi militias amid clashes that have killed dozens of rebels.
In a separate development, US ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tueller told Asharq Al-Awsat that the behavior of the Houthis following their control of Sanaa, had allowed, to a very large extent, al-Qaeda members and other extremist groups to move freely inside the country.
The diplomat said that Washington has no intention to divide Yemen based on sects, ethnicity or regions.