Gov’t forces defuse Houthi-laid landmines in Hodeidah

ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — The Yemeni government forces managed Sunday to defuse hundreds of landmines following the withdrawal of the Houthi rebels from key areas in the Red Sea coast city of Hodeidah.

According to a press statement released by the Giants Brigades, elite anti-bomb disposal units supported by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition succeeded in defusing hundreds of landmines and explosives that had been planted by the Houthi fighters in Hodeidah in various locations.

“Many abandoned houses, government institutions, main roads and farms were completely cleared from the Houthi-laid landmines following two days of hard work by our anti-explosives soldiers,” the government forces said.

“The Houthis largely overwhelmed many areas in Hodeidah with explosives and landmines based on experiences they gained from the Iranians,” the statement said.

Earlier in the day, the Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition rapidly advanced and pushed the Houthis back from several areas in Hodeidah amid intensified airstrikes.

More than 50 Houthi rebels and 20 government soldiers were killed and scores of others injured from both warring sides within the 24 hours, according to local medics.

The Saudi-backed government forces vowed to continue in pushing forward in an attempt to seize the city’s strategic port, but Houthis face the offense with stiff resistance.

Yemen’s internationally-backed government and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused the Houthi rebels of using Hodeidah’s port to smuggle Iranian weapons. Both Houthis and Iran denied the accusation.

Hodeidah is the most important and only point of entry for food and basic supplies to Yemen’s northern provinces controlled by Houthis, including the capital Sanaa.

The Arab coalition intervened in Yemen’s conflict in March 2015 to roll back Shiite Houthi rebels and reinstate Yemen’s legitimate President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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