Saudi-led troops today launched an assault on a key rebel-held port which the UN says could threaten up to 250,000 lives.
Hodeida, on Yemen's Red Sea coast, is the main point of entry for aid for millions in a nation on the brink of famine. The battle began at dawn after Iran-backed Houthi rebels ignored a deadline to withdraw by midnight.
The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya network reported the "liberation" of Hodeida had begun with a ground assault supported by air and naval cover from a multinational coalition. Jets and warships carried out strikes against rebel positions around the city.
Videos online showed vehicles appearing to head towards Hodeida. The sound of heavy gunfire could be heard. The Houthi-run Al Masirah news channel acknowledged the offensive, claiming rebel forces hit a coalition ship near Hodeida with two land-to-sea missiles.
"The targeted ship was carrying troops prepared for a landing on the coast," it said.
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Forces loyal to Yemen's exiled government, led by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, had neared Hodeida in recent days. It is 90 miles south west of capital Sanaa, held by the Shia Houthis since 2014 when they ousted Mr Hadi.
The UN and other aid groups have pulled international staff from the city. Around 600,000 live in the area and the UN warned "as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives" in the assault.
More than 10,000 e have been killed and two million displaced in the war. Fighting and a partial blockade by the coalition has left 22 million in need of aid and led to a massive cholera outbreak.
The Saudi-led coalition has received logistical support from the US, and both the US and UK have sold Saudi Arabia huge amounts of arms and equipment. © Provided by Independent Print Limited © Provided by Independent Print Limited