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Saudi-led coalition airdrops arms for Yemen loyalists in Taiz

Coalition planes parachuted three shipments of arms and ammunition to help fighters in southwest Taiz
Fighters loyal to Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi man a checkpoint in the area of the Cairo Fortress in Yemen's third city of Taez, on 12 October 2015 (Ahmad Al-Basha/ AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has dropped arms and ammunition to pro-government fighters in Taiz, the central city besieged by Shia Houthi militia, military sources said on Wednesday.

Coalition planes "parachuted three shipments of arms and ammunition to help our fighters in southwest Taiz," a source told AFP, adding they included RPG launchers and a variety of weapons.

The airdrop took place before dawn on Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.

Clashes raged Wednesday in Taiz between the rebels and fighters allied with President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, another military source said.

The Houthis overran the capital Sanaa in September 2014 and went on to seize control of several regions, aided by forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Saudi-led Arab coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthi militia in late March, in support of Hadi who fled to Riyadh.

It carried out a fresh wave of air strikes Wednesday on Taiz, as fierce fighting raged on the ground in the city which has remained in the hands of fighters loyal to Hadi. 

In the evening, coalition warplanes bombed rebel positions in the west and south of Taiz, according to a military source.

A main target in the evening was the headquarters of the 35th Brigade, near the central prison and a strategic hill overlooking a residential area.

Meanwhile, in Yemen's second city Aden inknown militants set off a sound bomb in the courtyard of a university building, causing panic among students, witnesses said.

It came after militants who support the Islamic State group had issued a threat this week to target academic institutions.

In July, Hadi loyalists backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition drove out the Houthi militia from five southern provinces and have set their sights on Sanaa.

Around 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict since March, more than half of them civilians, according to UN estimates.