Yemen government claims to have seized Red Sea port of Mokha

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen's civil war nearly two years ago to back President Hadi. (Representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Mokha port, Mocha, Yemen Jan 23, 2017, 12.30 PM (IST)

Yemeni government forces captured on Monday the port of Mokha as they pushed to oust Houthi rebels from the Red Sea coastline, an AFP journalist said.

An official statement said government forces recaptured the whole city, but a military commander in the field told AFP that loyalists were still fighting the rebels on the southern outskirts of Mokha.

Government forces were combing the port, a journalist accompanying the troops said, almost three weeks after the loyalists launched an offensive against the Shiite insurgents and their allies on Yemen's southwestern coast.

Forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi launched a vast offensive on January 7 to retake the Dhubab district overlooking the Bab al-Mandab strait, a key maritime route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Warplanes and Apache attack helicopters from a Saudi-led coalition have been pounding the rebels in support of pro-Hadi forces, military sources said

(AFP)