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Yemen army takes control of strategic port city of Mokha

Mokha, one of Yemen’s oldest ports, is seen as a weapons lifeline to the rebels and their allies

Published: Updated:

Forces allied with the internationally-recognized government of Yemen seized control of a strategic Red Sea port on Monday after waging an assault against Shiite militias, a top military commander said.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Seif al-Yafai said in press remarks that his forces have entered the city of Mokha, where dozens of families were seen fleeing days of clashes and bombardment. Dozens of fighters were killed as the bodies of the slain men littered streets and sidewalks, witnesses said.

Mokha, one of Yemen’s oldest ports, is seen as a weapons lifeline to the militias and their allies — who control the capital, Sanaa, and much of the northern region.

A Saudi-led military coalition is backing the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and seeking to restore him to power.

The assault on Mokha aims at securing the entire western coastline including the ports of Hodeida and al-Saleef — which the northern region depends on for imports of basic food necessities and which the coalition also believes are main transit points for weapons coming from Iran.