Fierce fighting for Hodeida leaves 110 Houthis, 22 pro-govt troops dead

Updated November 10, 2018

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Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida, as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Huthi rebels on November 9. — AFP
Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida, as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Huthi rebels on November 9. — AFP

HODEIDA/OSLO: A total of 110 Houthi rebels have been killed in 24 hours of clashes in western Yemen’s Hodeida along with 22 pro-government troops fighting to retake the port city, medical sources said on Friday.

The latest deaths raised to 382,the number of fighters killed on both sides since the battle for Hodeida intensified on Nov 1.

According to two doctors at two different hospitals in Hodeida, 55 rebels were killed during clashes and an air strike inside the city and across the province.

A third doctor and a rescuer said that 55 other Houthis were killed in fighting inside the port city and that their bodies had been transferred to the capital Sanaa, which the rebels control.

A loyalist military official reported the deaths of 22 pro-government fighters also during the past 24 hours.

Norway freezes defence export licences to Saudi

Norway said on Friday it was freezing all defence material export licences to Saudi Arabia over the war in Yemen.

The announcement came amid international outrage over Riyadh’s killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October, though Norway did not mention the murder specifically.

“We have decided that, in the current situation, no new licences are to be granted for exports of defence-related products or dual-use items for military use to Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement.

“The decision was taken after an overall assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the region, and the unpredictable situation in Yemen,” the foreign ministry said.

Norway sold defence material worth more than 41 million kroner ($4.86 million, 4.29 million euros) to Riyadh last year, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

The Scandinavian country has never allowed exports of arms or ammunition to Saudi Arabia, the ministry said.

It said it had no indication that Norwegian defence-related products were being used in Yemen, and stressed its decision was “precautionary”.

Saudi Arabia leads a coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government there against Shia Houthi rebels who are backed by Riyadh’s arch enemy Iran.

The coalition has been waging an aerial bombing campaign in Yemen aimed at pushing the Houthis back, but the rebels still hold the key port city of Hodeida and the capital Sanaa.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018