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Heavy fighting on Yemen’s west coast kills hundreds

Updated June 12, 2018

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SANAA: Heavy fighting in Yemen between pro-government forces and Shia rebels has killed more than 600 people on both sides in recent days, security officials said on Monday.

Government forces, bac­ked by a Saudi-led coalition, have been advancing along the western coast in recent weeks as they battle the Iran-allied rebels, known as Houthis. The fighting has escalated as government for­ces close in on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, a vital lifeline through which most of Yemen’s food and medicine enters.

Witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said the figh­ting has forced dozens of families to leave their homes.

The United States urged all parties of the conflict to ensure humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, Secre­tary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday. The US, he said, is closely following developments in Hodeidah and urged Emirati leaders to preserve “the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.”

International aid group Doctors Without Borders said on Monday the Saudi-led coalition attacked a cholera treatment centre in the northern province of Hajja. The group, known by its French acronym MSF, has temporarily frozen its activities in the area, “until we guarantee the safety of our staff and patients,” said Joo Martins, MSF’s head of mission in Yemen tweeted.

Yemen has been embroi­led in a civil war pitting the coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis since March 2015.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2018