Pro-govt forces retake Aden's airport in new assault

  • AFP, Aden
  • Updated: Jul 14, 2015 17:00 IST

Pro-government fighters seized Aden's airport on Tuesday as they launched a new offensive against Iran-backed rebels supported by Saudi-led warplanes and ships, military sources said.

The fighters from the Popular Resistance also pushed back the Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies from areas within the war-torn port city, the sources said.

Warships off the coast of Aden took part in the battle which a presidential official said was part of a new military campaign to regain control of all of the city.

Exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi is "personally supervising the operation" dubbed "Operation Golden Arrow for the Liberation of Aden," said his office director Mohammed Marem from Aden.

Soldiers of the 39th Armoured Brigade had captured Aden's airport on March 25 after switching allegiance to the Huthi rebels.

The Huthi rebels and their allies have since gone on to seize the presidential palace and other parts of Aden, the second largest city in Yemen and its main sea port.

Military sources in Aden have said that pro-Hadi fighters were now benefitting from ground support from Yemeni forces recently trained in Saudi Arabia, in addition to sophisticated weapons delivered by the coalition.

"Forces recently trained in Saudi Arabia are strongly participating in the fighting alongside the Popular Resistance," said one source, adding that these troops succeeded in cutting off rebels' supply routes in parts of the city.

Retaking the airport of Aden is the first significant achievement for pro-Hadi fighters since the embattled president fled the port city late March due to an all-out rebel offensive.

The rebels overran Sanaa in September unopposed and went on aided by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to expand their control to several regions.

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