Yemeni army, Houthi rebels trade blows east of Sanaa

Losing Hudaida would seriously weaken the Houthis by severing supply lines from the Red Sea to their stronghold in the capital Sanaa

The United Arab Emirates is a country better known for oil riches and skyscraper skylines, but right now it is prosecuting what could be a crucial offensive in the 3-year-old conflict in Yemen.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said: "We are waiting for the Houthis to realize the sort of military and psychological blow that they got with the airport. we are giving them time to decide if they want to save the city. and pull out".

In its daily report, UNOCHA said Tuesday that heavy fighting has engulfed several districts outside of Hodeida city, prompting relief agencies to relocate stocks away from the fighting, from which some warehouses are becoming inaccessible. He said four of the dead were women.

Members of UAE-backed fighters, Yemeni Resistance Giants' Brigade sit with the gun at the back of truck, near airport on the outskirts of Hodeidah, Yemen, June 19, 2018 in this still image taken from video.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general, said about 5,200 families or about 26,000 people have left the region to seek safety adding that "the number is expected to increase as hostilities continue". However, they said warplanes continued to bombard Houthi positions closer to the city centre, where the rebels have begun to entrench themselves in expectation of fierce street-to-street fighting.

The coalition launched a major offensive on June 13, dubbed Operation Golden Victory, to drive the rebels out of Hodeida, now the most intense battlefront in an already brutal war.

Many of them, like Ahmed, had been banking on United Nations efforts to take control of the port, through which almost three quarters of Yemen's imports - including much-needed aid - flow.

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Yemen pro-government forces are planning to isolate Houthi fighters in Hodeidah from other rebel-held areas by cutting off their main supply route, almost one week into an offensive to recapture the vital port city.

A top Emirati official acknowledged how the campaign for Hodeida goes will determine the likelihood of an end to Yemen's war.

Around 22 million people are now in need of aid in Yemen, with 8.4 million on the brink of starvation, according to the UN.

Saudi state TV had earlier said that Saudi air defenses had intercepted a Houthi missile launched on the city of Khamis Mushait, which is also in Asir. "We have humanitarian and development plans for when we liberate the city".

Hodeidah's port is the conduit through which as much as 80 percent of Yemen's food, medical and commercial supplies enters the country.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015.

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