x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 September 2017

Fifteen Yemeni rebels and 8 soldiers killed in clashes

Loyalist forces attacked insurgents on road linking Taez city to Hodeida port and near the liberated port of Mokha

At least 15 Yemeni rebels and eight soldiers were killed on Monday as government forces attacked insurgent positions in two areas in the south-west of the country, military officials said.

Loyalists attacked the Houthi rebels and their allies, renegade troops loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, at Heess, on the road linking the city of Taez with Hodeida port, on the Red Sea coast, officials said.

The attack aimed to block the road leading to the rebel-held port, the officials said.

The second attack targeted rebels in Al Hameli area, north of the port of Mokha, which was recaptured by government forces in February as part of a major ongoing offensive to drive rebels from Yemen's lengthy Red Sea coastline.

Several soldiers were wounded in the clashes, officials said.

They said warplanes from the Saudi-led Arab coalition backed government forces in the attacks.

The coalition mounted a military operation against the rebels in March 2015 as insurgents closed in on president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in his southern refuge in Aden forcing him to flee to Riyadh.

Government forces have since recaptured five southern provinces, including the city of Aden, which has become a temporary base for Mr Hadi's internationally recognised government.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of a military base in the district of Ain Bamaabad, in the southern Shabwa province, a security official said.

The attack killed at least three soldiers, the official added.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict since March 2015.

The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and is on the edge of famine.