Arab alliance close to capturing Hodeidah airport, Yemen military says
Forces from an Arab alliance entered the airport in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah Saturday, the coalition-backed Yemeni military said, in the biggest offensive in the war against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement Reuters reported
Victory for the Saudi-led alliance in their first attempt to capture a strategic part of a well-defended city could put the Houthis in their weakest position in the three-year conflict, since Hodeidah is the group’s sole Red Sea port.
A defeat could also cut off supply lines to the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, and possibly force them to negotiate as the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster ravages Yemen.
“Army forces backed by the resistance and the Arab alliance freed Hodeidah international airport from the grip of the Houthi militia,” the media office of the pro-alliance Yemeni military said on Twitter on Saturday.
Ground troops — which include United Arab Emirates forces, Sudanese and Yemenis drawn from various factions — have surrounded the main airport compound but have not seized it, a Yemeni military source and residents said.
“We need some time to make sure there are no gunmen, mines or explosive in the building,” the military source said. The military’s media office said technical teams were de-mining the surrounding area.
Fighting in the airport area led to the closure of the northern entrance of the western city Hodeidah, which leads to Sanaa, residents said.