Yemen’s gov’t forces repel Houthi attack on Hodeidah airport: source

Yemen’s government troops on Tuesday repelled a ground attack by the Houthi rebels on Hodeidah airport, a military source said.

The rebels’ attack aimed to retake the airport in the south of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Dozens of rebels were killed in the botched raid, he said.

Meanwhile, the government forces stationed on the southern outskirts of Hodeidah also came under attacks from Houthis, according to other sources.

Hodeidah, main lifeline entry of Yemen’s 70-percent commercial imports and most humanitarian aid, has become a focal point of a civil war since June 2018, when the government troops, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, launched assault to retake the port city.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to support Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile and seized much of the country’s north, including Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa.

The troops of the Yemeni exiled government have since advanced to the southern edges of Hodeidah and recaptured the airport after fierce battles against the rebels.

The coalition halted its assault on Hodeidah in late 2018 to facilitate peace efforts to end Yemen’s four-year war, which has killed more than 10,000, displaced over 3 million others and brought the Arab nation to the brink of famine.

Last December, a UN-brokered cease-fire deal was reached in Stockholm between the Yemeni rival parties to avert an all-out offensive on Hodeidah. The deal focused on Hodeidah as a first step toward a comprehensive political solution.

The truce was largely held but both warring forces have failed to withdraw from the port city despite the deal.