At least 40 dead in battle for Yemen port

Fighting for a key port city on Yemen's Red Sea coast has left at least 40 fighters on both sides of the conflict dead, AFP reported Tuesday (January 24th).

Forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi said Monday they had captured the port of Mokha, almost three weeks into an offensive to oust the Houthis (Ansarallah) and their allies from Yemen's south-western coast.

But they exchanged fire overnight with Houthi fighters still holed up in the port on Mokha's south-western edge.

Clashes continued Tuesday on the southern and eastern outskirts of the city.

"Despite the significant human toll, the Houthis are still in the centre of Mokha," a military official told AFP.

Houthi snipers were reported to have slowed the advance of pro-Hadi forces.

At least 28 Houthis and 12 pro-Hadi fighters have been killed in fighting in the past 24 hours, military and medical sources said Tuesday.

That brought to nearly 200 the number of deaths on both sides since the offensive began.

The strait is a strategically vital maritime route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

A government official said the Houthis had brought reinforcements to Mokha from neighbouring Ibb province, and that the fight for the town would take time.

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