Yemeni government forces, backed by the United Arab Emirates, entered Hodeida airport on Tuesday, the UAE said, as the fight for control of the starving nation's main port for food shipments rages on.
"With the participation and support of the Emirati armed forces, the joint Yemeni resistance (army) entered Hodeida airport," the UAE state news agency WAM tweeted.
A Yemeni military source confirmed the report to AFP.
Troops from the UAE and neighboring Saudi Arabia are the mainstay of an Arab coalition that has been fighting the Houthi Shiite rebels in support of the Yemeni government since 2015.
Also on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a bus carrying civilians killing six people on the outskirts of Hodeida, a senior Houthi-linked health official said.
Yahia Sharaf Eddin said four of the dead were women and that the strike took place in the district of al-Gharasi.
Earlier in the day, witnesses said another airstrike targeted a tractor driver and his assistant in eastern Hodeida. The driver was digging trenches for Houthi fighters, witnesses said. Both were killed.
Meanwhile, United Nations special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths left the capital Sanaa after three days of talks with rebel leaders. He briefed the U.N. Security Council on Monday by video from Sanaa on his proposals to restart political negotiations to end the three-year conflict.
Griffiths arrived in Yemen to try to avoid an all-out assault on Hodeida.
The Saudi-led coalition began its attack on the Red Sea port town Wednesday. Emirati forces are leading ground forces mixed with their own troops, irregular militiamen and soldiers backing Yemen's exiled government. Saudi Arabia has provided air support, with targeting guidance and refueling coming from the U.S.
The campaign to seize control of Hodeida threatens to worsen Yemen's humanitarian situation.
The offensive has faced criticism from international aid groups, who fear a protracted fight could force a shutdown of the port and potentially tip millions into starvation. Some 70 percent of Yemen's food enters via the port, as well as the bulk of humanitarian aid and fuel supplies. Around two-thirds of the country's population of 27 million relies on aid and 8.4 million are already at risk of starving.
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