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)

Yemeni officials say fighting rages around Hodeida airport

June 19, 2018 - 4:37 am

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — 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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