Yemen forces take control of tourist resorts near Hodeidah

At least 73 Houthis were killed and 23 arrested on Sunday morning

epa06768603 Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition take position at an area after seizing it from the Houthi militia in the western province of Hodeidah, Yemen, 27 May 2018 (issued 28 May 2018). According to reports, Yemeni troops backed by the Saudi-led coalition have moved closer to a key Houthis-held port and strategic city of Hodeidah after Yemeni government forces seized Houthis-held areas along the western coast. Most of Yemen's food and medicine imports and aid are shipped through Hodeidah port.  EPA/STRINGER
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Yemeni forces, backed by the Arab coalition, have taken control over the tourist resorts in Al Nukhaila in the Al Duraihimi province just west of the rebel-held port city of Al Hodeidah.

“They are only 10 kilometres away from the Al Hodeidah airport,” said Aseel Al Sakladi, the media officer of the Amalikah brigades.

He added that the Yemeni troops seized a number of ballistic missiles and vehicles belonging to the Iran-backed Houthi militia from a farm located between Al Tuhayta and Bayt Al Faqih, south of Al Hodeidah.

"At least 73 Houthis were killed and 23 were arrested amid fierce clashes on Sunday morning in the Al Mashraee and Al Madman areas and in the north of Al Hays districts," Mr Al Sakladi told The National.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition — which includes the UAE — launched air strikes at Houthi troops that were dispatched as reinforcement to Al Mashraee, he said.


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Meanwhile, UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths arrived on Saturday in Sanaa, which is under the control of the Houthis.

He is visiting the capital as part of diplomatic efforts to end the more than three years of escalating conflict between the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi and the Houthi militias.

Mr Griffiths will discuss with the rebels a plan to withdraw from Al Hodeidah and hand over control of the harbours and airport to the UN, according to Al Arabiya news channel.

epa06780842 UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffith (R) arrives at the Sana'a International Airport, in Sana'a, Yemen, 02 June 2018. According to reports, UN special envoy Martin Griffiths is visiting Sana'a in diplomatic efforts to end more than three years of escalating conflict between the Saudi-led coalition-backed Yemen's government and Houthi militias.  EPA/STR

Al Hodeidah is Yemen’s largest entry point for aid on which millions depend, as the country teeters on the brink of famine.

For the coalition — which Mr Hadi's government requested it intervene on its behalf in March 2015 — it is also considered the entry point for rebel weaponry, including ballistic missiles, which it accuses regional rival Iran of supplying.

The Houthis have repeatedly fired missiles at Saudi Arabia, which the US and UN experts say are of Iranian origin, a claim Tehran denies.