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Yemen rebels vow to fight on after losing Hodeida airport



Yemen's Huthi rebels vowed to fight on after pro-government forces seized Hodeida airport from them on Wednesday, in a major step towards retaking the port city following a week-long battle.

Rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi called for reinforcements to repel the advance of the UAE-backed government forces, after ongoing fighting left nearly 350 people dead.

"We will face all of the incursions on the ground. Our determination will never be dented," he said via the rebels' Al-Masirah news outlet.

Pro-government forces announced the capture of Hodeida airport on Wednesday morning, a day after breaking through the perimeter fence.

The airport was disused but it housed a major rebel base just inland from the coastal road into the city from the south.

Fresh clashes later erupted between UAE-backed government forces and the Iran-allied rebels on a road linking the airport to Hodeida port on the Red Sea coast, a Yemeni army source said.

Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said military "operations will continue on various fronts until (the capital) Sanaa and the whole territory" are retaken from the rebels.

On June 13, Yemen's army and its allies launched their offensive to clear Hodeida of rebel fighters who have held it since 2014, raising UN concerns for vital aid shipments and food imports through the city's docks.

At least 156 Huthis and 28 soldiers were killed in the fight for the airport, according to Hodeida hospital sources.

That raised the death toll in the battle for the city to 348. No civilian casualties have yet been confirmed.

Some 5,200 families fled their homes this month as pro-government forces advanced up the Red Sea coast, according to the UN.

The Hodeida offensive, dubbed Operation Golden Victory, is the most intense battlefront in the already-brutal Yemen war which has left millions displaced.

The 2015 Saudi-led intervention came after Hadi fled into exile as the rebels overran much of the country.

The conflict has since killed nearly 10,000 people, most of them civilians, while more than 2,200 others have died from cholera.

The coalition has helped pro-government forces regain control of the south and much of the Red Sea coast, but the rebels still control Sanaa and most of the north.

Multiple rounds of UN-brokered peace talks have all failed to achieve any breakthrough.

The Yemeni government and its allies have insisted that the Huthis must fully withdraw from Hodeida and turn over the port to UN supervision.

The rebels have so far agreed only to share control of the port with the United Nation
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Yemen rebels vow to fight on after losing Hodeida airport Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 10:25 PM Rating: 5

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