LONDON: The Yemeni army announced on Sunday that it was ready to open safe corridors for civilians wanting to leave Hodeidah.
The statement published on the official Yemeni Army web page added that its soldiers are ready to give safe passage for militants willing to put their weapons down.
The statement put the number of Iran-backed Houthi militants who perished in the battle for Hodeidah until now at 500.
Hodeidah’s city meanwhile has remains under a state of emergency, which was imposed by the Houthi militia while militants were seen digging trenches and building fortifications in various areas of Hodeidah city, while preventing civilians wanting to abandon the city from leaving.
Meanwhile the Saudi-led Arab coalition carried out airstrikes on the airport of Hodeidah, witnesses said on Sunday, as fighting raged on for the fifth day in the port city which is a lifeline to Yemen’s population.
Sunday’s airstrikes by the coalition were carried out in support of ground troops loyal to the internationally recognized government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, as they attempt to retake the airport.
The witnesses said the airstrikes echoed across the city but the scale of the damage to the airport could not be immediately assessed. Security officials also said the Iran-backed Houthis are holed up in the airport as the coalition forces attempt to drive them out.
The UN has announced on Sunday that nearly 5,000 families have been displaced from Hodeidah province this month, as violence escalates in the rebel-held Red Sea region.
After nearly a month of sporadic clashes, the Yemeni government backed by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Wednesday launched a major assault to retake the city of Hodeidah, capital of the province and home to the war-torn country’s most vital port.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 4,458 households had been displaced from their homes in Hodeidah since June 1, with 36 families losing their livelihood as their farms were damaged in the conflict.
The fight for Hodeidah has sparked fears of a fresh humanitarian crisis in a country where more than 22 million people are in need of aid.