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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Arab coalition: Large-scale military operation launched in Yemen's Hodeidah

Brig Abdul Salaam Al Shehi said Yemeni forces — backed by the Saudi-led alliance — are advancing north on a number of fronts

A soldier walks at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen on May 10, 2017. Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters
A soldier walks at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen on May 10, 2017. Abduljabbar Zeyad / Reuters

The Arab coalition in Yemen launched a large-scale operation in the northern port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea to recapture the area from the Houthi rebels, said a coalition official.

Brig Abdul Salaam Al Shehi, commander of the Arab Coalition forces in Yemen’s Red Sea Coast, said that Yemeni forces — backed by the Saudi-led alliance — are advancing north on a number of fronts.

“All of Yemen’s national resistance forces, along with the effective participation of the Sudanese forces, are taking part in the operations with high morale, complete harmony and co-ordination,” Brig Al Shehi told the UAE’s state news agency, Wam.

“The forces are backed by the UAE Armed Forces that are operating as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.”

Brig Al Shehi said that the Iran-backed rebels are losing ground and fleeing their posts.

“The militias have been leaving behind equipment, weapons and dead bodies after the coalition and resistance forces are taking control of strategic sites and cutting off their supply lines,” he said.

He added that the Houthis are in a state of panic as “dozens of them, including operational commanders, are falling, either as prisoners of war or killed”.

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Brig Al Shehi said that the Arab coalition will continue to push forward in the Red Sea coast of Yemen to liberate these areas from the rebels.

“The Red Sea coast of Yemen has witnessed large-scale military operations to take control of new areas and defeat the Iran-backed Houthi militias, so as to complete the liberation and secure the area and lift the siege on Hodeidah city and port and Taez from the west,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Arab coalition said they intercepted a missile launched at a distribution centre belonging to oil giant Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia's southwestern Jizan province.

Coalition spokesman Turki Al Malki said the missile was intercepted between the Yemeni border and the southern coast city.

The Houthis have in recent months fired a series of missiles into the kingdom, which has intercepted them. The rebels claimed to have fired a missile at a Saudi Aramco facility on Monday, but there was no confirmation of this from Saudi Arabia.

Brig Al Shehi reiterated that the Arab coalition has no ulterior motives in Yemen, but its only goal was to help the people carry on with their lives without the interference of external forces that have ill intentions.

"We will liberate Yemen from the Iranian Houthi militias to remain a dignified and strong country to its people,” he said. “We will contribute to the reconstruction and building process to enable Yemenis to live in dignity and happiness on their land.”

Meanwhile, the Arab coalition announced on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has deployed troops on the Yemeni island of Socotra.

The Saudi troops will conduct joint training exercises on the island alongside UAE and Yemeni forces, coalition spokesman Turki Al Malki said.

He added that move was undertaken in co-ordination with the Yemeni government.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemen war in March 2015 to fight the rebels at the request of the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.