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Yemen clashes: More than 40 dead in 24 hours

Warplanes from Saudi-led Arab coalition have pounded Houthi rebel positions east of Mokha, a military official said
A tank of the Yemeni forces loyal to the exiled president is seen during clashes with Houthi rebels outside Taiz on 6 April 2017 (AFP)

Clashes and air strikes in southwest Yemen have killed more than 40 soldiers, rebels and civilians over the past 24 hours, officials and medics said on Monday.

Warplanes from the Saudi-led Arab coalition have pounded Houthi rebel positions east of the Red Sea port of Mokha and other areas of Taiz province since Sunday, a military official said.

Clashes raged after the air raids in the Jabal al-Nar area east of Mokha and north of the city on the road to Hudaida, Yemen's main Red Sea port, the official said.

At least 17 rebels were killed in the air strikes and fighting, medical sources in rebel-held Hudaida said.

Hodeida is next target

The coalition-backed government says Hudaida is its next target in a months-long offensive aimed at pushing the Iran-backed rebels away from the country's lengthy Red Sea coastline.

Another 11 rebels were killed in air strikes on Kamran island and a base in Hudaida itself, the medical sources said.

Ten soldiers were also killed and 15 were wounded in the confrontations, said medical sources in Aden, the temporary base of the government as Sanaa remains under rebel control.

Meanwhile, three civilians were killed and two others were wounded Monday in a bombing that targeted the convoy of General Ali Muqbel Saleh, commander of the 33rd Armoured Brigade, in Daleh city, a security official said. A medical source in Daleh confirmed the toll.

The war between the government and the rebels escalated in March 2015 when the Arab coalition intervened in support of President Abd Mansour Hadi after he fled the Houthi advance and seizure of the capital.

The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people have been killed over the past two years, thousands are dying from preventable disease and malnutrition, and more than 40,000 have been wounded in impoverished Yemen, which faces a serious risk of famine this year.