Yemen Forces retake historic Red Sea coastal town of Mokha

Yemen Forces retake historic Red Sea coastal town of Mokha

ADEN: (APP) Yemeni government forces took full control of the Red Sea coastal town of Mokha on Friday after weeks of deadly fighting with Shiite militants and their allies, a spokesman said.

Before the 19th Century, Mokha was Yemen's main port and export hub for coffee grown in the highlands and its historical symbolism meant it was fiercely fought over.

"We have done with the Battle of Mokha," armed forces spokesman Mohammed al-Naqib told AFP, adding that the militants had been forced to flee the town.

Another loyalist military source confirmed that government forces were in "full control".

The militants had put up fierce resistance in the town. Twenty-four militants and eight loyalist troops were killed in fighting on Wednesday alone.

Tens of thousands of civilians were trapped in the fighting. Many of them had sought refuge in Mokha after fleeing their homes in towns to the south as government forces pushed up the coast.

The UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said late last month that "scores of civilians" had been killed or wounded by shelling and sniper fire around Mokha or by air strikes carried out in support of government forces by a Saudi-led coalition.

He said most services in the town had ground to a halt, including the mains water supply.

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