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ADEN-- Warships of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition shelled several sites controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen's western port city of Hodeidah on Tuesday evening, a government official told Xinhua news agency.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, carried out naval bombardment and targeted Houthi controlled sites in Al Hali area.

"Missiles fired by warships precisely targeted Houthi sites and caused casualties among their ranks," the government source said.

Hodeidah residents said they heard huge explosions across the city as a result of the Saudi-led naval attacks that apparently hit arms caches.

The naval bombardment comes less than a week after a large scale anti-Houthi military campaign carried out by Yemeni government troops and regained control over key areas in Hodeidah.

Sources of Southern Resistance Forces based in Hodeidah told Xinhua by phone that the naval attacks are part of an intensifying campaign to kick the Houthis out from Hodeidah province.

On Monday night, scores of Houthis were killed in air raids carried out by Arab coalition fighter jets and in clashes with Joint Yemeni Resistance Forces in the Red Sea coast, bringing the death toll to more than 140 Houthi militiamen in the past two days.

The UAE state-run news agency WAM said that "the qualitative and devastating air strikes had weakened the military capabilities amid the accelerated field progress of Yemeni Resistance Forces towards Hodeidah Airport and its strategic port."

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels since March 2015. Over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the war that displaced over three million and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

The coalition has sent hundreds of troops to the Yemeni western coast in preparation for the advancement into Houthi held Hodeidah, a long-time key military target declared by the coalition.

The Saudi and Emirati backed Yemeni forces continued in making ground advancement during the battles with Houthis on Yemen's west coast near Hodeidah airport.

Hodeidah is a vital lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Houthi controlled northern provinces, including Yemen's capital Sanaa.


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