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Hodeida capture to tip the scales in Yemen war

Impending offensive comes amid a string of military victories by the Yemenis against Al Houthis along the Red Sea coast

Yemen: The ongoing battle to liberate the strategic city and port of Hodeida is of a crucial importance, Emirates News Agency WAM, has reported, as it will change the balance of power on ground in favour of the Arab Coalition fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government in Yemen.

Regaining the strategic city means that the Iran-backed militants will be deprived of a main gateway where they smuggle in weapons and threaten the shipping movement on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast, as well as a major passage to the capital Sana’a.

The impending offensive comes amid a string of military victories by the Yemenis against Al Houthis along the Red Sea coast.

The Arab Coalition and the joint Yemeni Resistance Forces are steadily advancing toward the strategic city which could be mark the beginning of the end of an Al Houthi coup in the country.

The militants have already been ousted from Al Mo’mary Camp, east of Zubab City, west of Taiz, a strategic area which foiled Al Houthi plans to control the Bab Al Mandab strait and the international maritime navigation that passes through it.

The Saudi-led coalition has foiled many attempts made by the Iran-backed militants to disrupt and attack international ships passing through the area.

Recently, they destroyed two booby-trapped boats that targeted an oil tanker in the Red Sea.

At least 12 per cent of the world’s oil and merchandise passes through the Red Sea, which makes the issue of international concern and importance.

The spokesman for the coalition, Colonel Turki Al Malaki, said last week that the government forces, supported by the alliance, were around 20 kilometres from Hodeida.

Hodeida lies 230 kilometres from Sana’a, which Al Houthis seized in a coup in 2014.

This prompted a Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen the following year, aimed at restoring the internationally-recognised government of exiled President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The coalition accuses Al Houthis of using Hodeida as a launch pad for attacks on shipping in the Red Sea and for smuggling in weapons.

Al Houthis have in recent months ramped up missile attacks against neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The Governor of Hodeida, Al Hassan Taher, has said that government troops have drawn up a plan to partially encircle the city.

“The army troops are advancing towards Hodeida and are working to encircle it from two directions: in the south and south-east with the aim of blocking any supplies to the [Al Houthi] militias from Sana’a and Taiz [in the south],” Taher told the London-based newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat recently. The UAE, Saudi Arabia’s main coalition ally, set up a force in early 2018 to ramp up the coastal offensive.

About Hodeida:

The port of Hodeida consists of eight wharfs in total length reaches to 1405 metres.

The port provides 11 sheds totaling 21,000 square metres, 1 million square metres open storage and 300,000 square metres for the container terminal.

Al Houthis overtook the port in mid-October 2014 after a coup in Sana’a.

The port is considered the main gateway to the capital which has given the militants an upperhand in controlling the shipping lines connecting Yemen to the outside world, as well as reaping the huge financial returns from taxing the goods that come in.

Additionally, the port is used by Iran to smuggle in weapons to Al Houthis, which has almost single-handedly sustained their war effort.

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