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Pro-government troops recapture strategic Yemeni port town

The Houthis had reportedly used Midi, located along the Red Sea, to bring weapons to the mainland
Pro-government forces are trying to break up the Houthi's control of a long stretch of coastline (AFP)

Troops loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi retook the town of Midi - a strategic port located on the Red Sea in the country's northwest, following fierce fighting with Houthi fighters, a military chief said.

"We have full control of the port and the town, along with its historic castle," Fifth Military Region commander General Adel al-Qumairi said late on Wednesday.

Intensive clashes have flared in the area since mid-December when Saudi-trained government forces seized the nearby town of Haradh.

The Houthis have reportedly used Midi's port to bring weapons into their traditional stronghold in the north.

Despite losing Midi, the Houthis, along with a battalion of troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, still maintain control over a long stretch of the coastline.

In mid-December, military sources in Yemen told MEE that pro-government troops were advancing on Midi "very quickly”.

Since the beginning of Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Houthis last March, the poverty-stricken Hajja province, where Midi is located, has been hit hard by hundreds of air strikes.

Saudi Arabia claims that the Houthis and their allied forces have used the border areas as a base for launching rocket attacks on Saudi villages. 

“The cities of Haradh, Abes and Midi have been under daily bombing by the Saudi jets and cannons since March. They destroyed most of the city’s hotels, schools and bridges. The warplanes hit any car that they suspect of carrying Houthi fighters,” a government official said.

The Houthis continue to control Yemen's capital, Sanaa, which they overran in 2014, but forces aligned with Hadi have captured areas east and northeast of the city.

On Wednesday, coalition warplanes bombed Houthi positions in Sanaa, including the presidential complex, witnesses said.

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