This still image taken from video provided by Arab 24 shows Saudi-led forces gathering to retake the international airport of Yemen's rebel-held port city of Hodeida from the Shiite Houthi rebels Saturday, June 16, 2018. With battles raging at the southern side of al-Hodeida International Airport, the military of Yemen's exiled government said it had entirely seized the facility, and that engineers were working to clear mines from nearby areas just south of the city of some 600,000 people on the Red Sea. (Arab 24 via AP)

The Latest: Health official says 6 dead in coalition strike

June 19, 2018 - 7:48 am

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Latest on the battle for the Yemeni port town of Hodeida (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

A senior Houthi-linked health official says the Saudi-led coalition has bombed a bus carrying civilians, killing six people on the outskirts of the Yemeni city of Hodeida.

Hodeida is the Red Sea port city where forces backed by the coalition are fighting Shiite Houthi rebels.

Yahia Sharaf Eddin says four of the dead are women and that the Tuesday strike took place in al-Gharasi district, just outside the city.

Earlier in the day, witnesses said, another airstrike targeted a tractor driver and his assistant in eastern Hodeida. They said the driver was digging trenches for Houthi fighters.

The Emiratis, who are the major force behind the campaign to take over Hodeida, said they are taking all measures to avoid civilian casualties.

Saudi-led airstrikes on Tuesday heavily bombed Houthi positions and snipers who took over rooftops in Hodeida as forces battled to take control over the airport of the city.

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11:35 a.m.

Yemeni military officials say fighting has escalated outside the airport of the vital Yemeni city of Hodeida, pitting thousands of pro-government fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels.

The officials say Tuesday the United Arab Emirates-backed Amaleqa brigades, backed by air cover from the Saudi-led coalition, have been trying to storm the southern and western parts of the airport under air cover from the Saudi-led coalition.

However, they say land mines and Houthi snipers are hindering efforts to get the airport under government control.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The coalition backing Yemen's exiled government began its assault Wednesday. Hodeida is the main entry point for food to Yemen, already on the brink of famine.

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