Yemen fight for Red Sea base leaves 25 dead

Yemen fight for Red Sea base leaves 25 dead
Clashes over a key military base near Yemen's Red Sea coast have left at least 25 soldiers and rebels dead.
2 min read
16 April, 2017
Government forces are attempting to push the rebels out of Red Sea cities [AFP]
At least 25 soldiers and rebels have died in clashes around a key military base near Yemen's west coast, military and medical sources said on Saturday. 

Loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition launched an assault to seize the Khaled Ibn al-Walid base from Houthi rebels and their allies who had controlled it for over two years, military sources said. 

After seizing a mountain overlooking the camp in recent days, forces loyal to internationally recognised president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi had advanced on the camp from two directions, they said. 

The camp, one of the biggest in Yemen, is 30 kilometres from the government-held Red Sea town of Mokha which pro-government forces retook in February.

It sits on a key road linking Mokha to the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah and third city Taiz, which is under rebel siege.

Nine rebels were killed and two others wounded in twin coalition airstrikes targeting three vehicles bringing reinforcements to the camp, military and medical sources said.

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They added that a further 12 rebels and four soldiers were killed in fighting overnight.

Loyalist forces launched a major offensive on January 7 to retake Yemen's 450-kilometre (280-mile) coastline as far as Midi, close to the Saudi border.

The Houthis, supported by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, control parts of northern and western Yemen and the capital Sanaa, which they overran in September 2014.

Yemen's long-running conflict escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing raids against the Houthis who had stormed the capital and taken swathes of central and northern territory.

Around 7,400 people have died in airstrikes and clashes since then, the UN says. Aid agencies have warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the Arab world's poorest nation.