Saudi-backed fighters battle to extend gains in Yemen’s Aden

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People and vendors gather on the rubble of shops destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike that hit a marketplace in Yemen's capital Sanaa July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

ADEN, Jul 21:    Yemeni fighters backed by Saudi-led air strikes battled to take back northern suburbs of Aden from Houthi opponents on Tuesday, residents said, a day after completing their capture of the center of the strategic port city.
The country’s dominant Houthi militia and its army allies traded artillery fire with Saudi-backed forces in the Dar Saad and al Alam areas as Arab warplanes bombed the Iran-allied group.
Local anti-Houthi forces broke months of stalemate in Aden last week by suddenly seizing the airport and then driving the Houthis out of their last redoubt in the west of the city.
Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s war in March in an effort to stop Houthi forces taking Aden, the last city nominally controlled by exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government. Riyadh says it wants to restore Hadi to power in the capital Sanaa, which the Houthis seized in September.
The United Nations said on Tuesday that over 3,600 people have died during the almost four months of air raids and civil war in Yemen. The conflict has deepened suffering in the already impoverished nation, especially in Aden which has seen heavy combat.
A Houthi artillery barrage killed 43 people and wounded 173 on Sunday in Dar Saad, underscoring the fragile grip of the anti-Houthi forces.
“We’re in an operation to complete the extension of our control over the city of Aden and to confront the Houthi presence at its entrances,” a leader in a local militia told Reuters by phone.

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