Hodeidah battles intensify as more Houthi commanders defect from militias

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The fighting in the Yemeni city of Hodeidah intensified as the battles between the national army, aided by the Arab Coalition, and the Houthi militias increased as more Houthi leaders continue to defect from the militias.

Military officials said Coalition warplanes and Apache attack helicopters targeted neighborhoods where Houthis are positioned, adding that violent clashes erupted around a university south of the city, near Al-Thawra Hospital and May 22 Hospital.

Meanwhile, several top Houthi commanders have been defecting following the severe losses that the militias are suffering. There are expectations that more figures will defect as the Houthis suffer more losses and as the grip is tightened around their major strongholds in Saada and in their last naval port in Hodeidah.

According to sources close to the Houthi commanders, the latter are under pressure due to all the defections in their ranks. The sources said that despite the restrictions and despite imposing what resembles house arrest on figures loyal to the Houthis, many were still defecting “to jump off the ship that’s about to sink.”

The sources said imposing this house arrest may become public and stricter in Houthi strongholds after many officials defected. The last of those who defected were Minister of Information Abdulsalam Jaber. His defection comes a few days after the resignation of Minister of Tourism Nasser Bazqzouz and the split of Deputy Minister of Education Abdullah al-Hamdi, in addition to unconfirmed reports of the escape of Foreign Minister Hisham Sharaf.

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