ADEN, Yemen-- Forces loyal to Yemen's internationally-backed government managed on Saturday to enter the only airport in the country's western port city of Hodeidah, following fierce armed confrontations with the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthis, a military official told Xinhua.

The source based in Hodiedah said on condition of anonymity that "the government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stormed the airport from different directions after several hours of heavy shelling and besieging the area."

"Sporadic fighting is still taking place with some Houthi pockets inside the airport buildings that are all surrounded by government troops," the local source added.

The UAE-backed Yemeni troops are currently tightening the noose on the remnants of the Houthi fighters in the airport area, and engineering units started to dismantle large network of Iranian-made land mines planted there, according to the Yemeni source.

Residents told Xinhua that Houthi fighters laid thousands of landmines inside local farms and around residential areas in a desperate attempt to delay the advancement of the UAE-backed Yemeni troops.

The media center for Yemen's armed forces confirmed in a statement published on its Twitter account that "national armed forces backed by the resistance fighters and the Arab coalition liberated Hodeidah international airport from the grip of the Houthi militia."

With support of the UAE armed forces operating as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition, the Yemeni government forces gained control over Hodeidah Airport overnight, imposing a tight besiege on the Houthi fighters, according to local army commanders.

The commanders told Xinhua by phone saying that the Houthi defences and fortifications within the airport perimeters and in the surrounding areas collapsed easily after intensified airstrikes.

Scores of fighters were either killed or injured as a result of the bloody clashes taking place between the two warring sides in Hodeidah.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels since March 2015. More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the war that displaced over 3 million and pushed the impoverished country into the brink of famine.

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

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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