Houthi rebels advance in Aden despite air strikes

Fierce clashes continue in Yemen's southern port city as conditions worsen for civilians.

    Yemen's Houthi rebels, supported by army units, have gained ground in the southern city of Aden, despite an 11th night of coalition air strikes targeting the group's strongholds.

    The rebel forces reportedly advanced to near the port of Mualla, which is defended by militiamen of "popular committees" loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has fled to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

    Residents reported hearing sporadic gunfire and blasts of rocket-propelled grenades.

    Summer Nasser, a human rights activist and blogger, told Al Jazeera that she had to leave her home in Aden because of the fighting. 

    "Conditions are devastating actually, we've heard shelling by Houthis on homes, civilians killed. There's no electricity, water. I feel like the humanitarian crisis in Aden is actually getting worse by the hour," she said. 

    Television footage purports to show coalition warships bombing Houthi ammunition supply lines and depots from sea.

    Aden, the last foothold of supporters of Hadi, has been shaken by more than a week of fierce clashes between the Shia rebels and Hadi loyalists.

    At least 185 dead and 1,282 wounded from the clashes have been counted in hospitals in Aden since March 26, the city's health department director al-Kheder Lassouar said on Saturday.

    On Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said that there was an urgent need for fighting to halt in the worst-affected areas, including Sanaa and Aden.

    Russia also called on the United Nations Security Council to push for pauses in Saudi-led air strikes.

    Evacuations

    Several foreign governments have stepped up evacuation operations to get their citizens and other expatriates out of Yemen.

    India has successfully evacuated at least 1,800 of its nationals, according to Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs, who tweeted on Sunday that their forces also rescued at least 170 foreign nationals from 20 other countries to neighbouring Djibouti.

    Algeria evacuated 160 of its citizens, the country's state news agency APS reported, adding that 40 Tunisians, 15 Mauritians, 8 Libyans, 3 Moroccans, and a Palestinian were also rescued by their forces. 

    France released footage of the evacuation of 44 foreigners from Yemen, including several French citizens. 

    China, Djibouti, Egypt and Sudan, along with two aid groups, were scheduled to carry out evacuations from Sunday while requests from others including Canada, Germany and Iraq were being processed, the coalition has said.

    Yemen infographic [Al Jazeera]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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