Supporters attend funeral of Al Houthi fighters who were killed during recent clashes in Sana’a, Yemen, on Thursday. Image Credit: Reuters

 Al Mukalla: Yemen’s government forces have taken control of a military camp in the province of Hodeida ,a day after pushing the Iran-backed Al Houthis from Khokha region, military officials said on Friday.

Backed by intensive air cover from the Saudi-led coalition, government forces stormed Abu Musa Al Ash'ari military camp, north of the Red Sea Khokha on Thursday after fierce clashes with Al Houthi militants who fled to the mountains and other villages under their control.

Colonel Abdul Basit Al Baher, a spokesperson for the Supreme Military Council in Taiz, told Gulf News that government forces killed and injured dozens of rebels in the fighting. “ Due to its location, the camp is unique for bringing in military equipment from the sea.” Al Bahar said.

The current military operations on the Red Sea are part of a major offensive that started earlier this year and aimed at denying Al Houthis access to the Red Sea, stem the flow of the Iranian arms to the rebels and secure the strategic Bab Al Mandab Strait.The final stage of this offensive will see the liberation of Hodeida city, the last major coastal urban area under Al Houthi control. On Thursday, government forces announced taking control of Khokha, a small costal area known for its old seaport.

After taking control of Abu Musa Al Ash'ari military camp, government forces have stationed almost 100km from Hodeida and local commanders expect stiff resistance from rebels as government forces and the Saudi-led coalition military advisers on the grounds get closer to the city.

The state-run Saba news agency reported on Thursday that Yemen’s president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi called military commanders in Khokha to congratulate them and order them to intensify attacks on Al Houthis on the Red Sea areas until they reach Hodeida. 

Meanwhile, in the northern province of Jawf, government forces seized control of a strategic road that links the provinces of Jawf and Saada with the neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Abdullah Al Ashraf, a spokesperson for the 6th Military Region, told the state-run Saba news agency that government forces on Thursday liberated many areas Khab Al Sha’af district before seizing a road that links the province of Jawf with Saudi Arabia through Saada’s Bouqa district. By capturing the road, government forces would disrupt military supplies to Al Houthi militants on battlefields in Jawf’s Khab Al Sha’af district.  Yemen’s president has recently pledged to issue a general amnesty for military soldiers who backed Al Houthis in the past if they switched sides and backed government forces.