Dubai: A Yemeni social media entrepreneur has accused Al Houthi militants of coercing state employees into going to Hodeida ahead of a major fight over the port city.

“Al Houthis are forcing governmental employees in different intuitions to join the front lines in Hodeida,” Faizah Al Sulaimani posted on her Twitter account.

They threaten: “either you go now [to Hodeida] or you will be arrested immediately and then get killed as a traitor.”

The post came as Yemeni forces, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, launched their long-anticipated assault on the strategic Red Sea port city early on Wednesday.

“What a barbaric action!!! Sending hundreds of thousands of civilians to die!!!” Faizah, a senior relations and communication officer at Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS), said.

The development specialist posted a list of names of state employees who had been ordered on June 11 to go to Hodeida.

“There are other lists from other departments in the interior, defence and moral guidance. Either you follow the orders or you get executed for treason!,” she posted.

The Red Sea port city of Hodeida is the fourth-largest city in Yemen.

Yemen’s Local Affairs Minister Abdul Rakib Fatah said the largest warehouses of food aid in Hodeida are being used by Al Houthis to sustain their war efforts.

“They are using the port as a military zone and not as a port to accept relief supplies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Minister Mohammad Askar accused Al Houthis of using the Hodeida port to smuggle weapons and ballistic missiles’ parts, an accusation that has been repeatedly made by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition and the US.

Al Houthis have occupied the city since 2014, and have repeatedly rejected international proposals surrender control to a neutral party in order to facilitate relief operations.