, Aden, Yemen, Jan 29 – Fierce battles between Yemeni government forces and Shiite rebels on the country’s west coast have killed more than 100 fighters in the past 24 hours, officials said on Sunday.
The bodies of at least 90 Huthi rebels were taken to a hospital in the Red Sea city of Hodeida, which is controlled by the insurgents, while 19 dead soldiers were taken to the southern port city of Aden, the medical and military sources said.
Deadly clashes have shaken the area around the key Red Sea town of Mokha since the start of the year when loyalist fighters launched an offensive to oust the Iran-backed Huthis and their allies.
Loyalists backed by the firepower of a Saudi-led Arab coalition advanced Saturday into the town after having captured its port on Monday, despite strong rebel resistance.
Clashes raged in the town on Sunday, a military official said.
Air strikes by coalition warplanes hit rebel supplies along the route between Mokha and Hodeida, the official said.
Huthi forces had controlled Mokha since they overran the capital Sanaa in September 2014 and advanced on other regions aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Forces supporting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by the coalition, launched a vast offensive on January 7 to retake the coastline overlooking the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait.
Mokha was Yemen’s main port serving as its export hub for coffee until it was overtaken by Aden and Hodeida in the 19th century.
Nearly 370 combatants have been killed since government forces launched their drive up the Red Sea coastline.