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Yemen officials say coalition bombs rebels at Bab el-Mandeb

Ahmed Al-Haj - Associated Press

SANAA — The Saudi-led coalition targeting Shiite rebels in Yemen bombed insurgent positions near the Bab el-Mandeb strait on yesterday to weaken them in preparation for a ground offensive there, Yemeni security officials close to pro-government forces said.

The airstrikes were confirmed by security officials close to the rebels, known as Houthis, who said that 13 of their fighters were killed in the airstrikes. The airstrikes took place in areas Houthis control around the strategic Red Sea strait, including the port town of Mocha, which is connected by road to Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city.

A similar tactic of airstrikes preceding a ground offensive was used in other areas taken over by pro-government forces, including in the southern port city of Aden, which the Houthis lost to pro-government troops last month.

In Bayda province, pro-government forces took over the eastern part of the town of Mukayris in an operation supported by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition, officials said. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to brief journalists.

Yemen's conflict pits the Iran-allied Houthis and troops loyal to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, against an array of forces including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants as well as troops loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

AIRSTRIKES ALI ABDULLAH SALEH HOUTHIS IN BAYDA MANDEB MUKAYRIS PRESIDENT ABED RABBO MANSOUR HADI RED SEA SUNNI ISLAMIC TAIZ YEMENI
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