Yemen loyalists push deeper into Hodeida as US cuts support
Hodeida (Yemen), Nov 11 (AFP) Yemeni government forces pressed further into the strategic port city of Hodeida, seizing its main hospital in heavy fighting Saturday, as their Saudi-led coalition backers put a brave face on an end to US refuelling support.
A loyalist official said mortar rounds were "falling like rain" in the streets as troops overcame rebel-laid mines and snipers to take control of the main hospital in the city of some 600,000 people.
The rebels have put up fierce resistance to the government advance towards the city's vital docks, which are the point of entry for 80 per cent of Yemen's commercial imports and nearly all UN-supervised humanitarian aid.
The grinding Saudi-led war in Yemen has caused growing international unease after high-profile coalition air strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children.
The intensified coalition-backed push into Hodeida, which has claimed the lives of at least 382 combatants this month, comes despite aid agency warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe in the event of a protracted battle for the city.
Some 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine and many more are dependent on international aid, according to UN agency figures, making it vital that Hodeida's port remains open and undamaged.
Yemeni officials said Saturday that pro-government forces had captured the city's May 22 Hospital.
Amnesty International had earlier accused the Huthis of "deliberate militarisation" of the facility after they posted snipers on its roof. (AFP) AQS
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