Al Jah (Yemen) (AFP) - Yemen pro-government forces launched an offensive on Wednesday to seize the key port city of Hodeida from Huthi rebels, field commanders told AFP.
Loyalist troops have begun pressing towards Hodeida airport, south of the strategic Red Sea city, the commanders said on condition of anonymity.
The assault began at around 1:15 pm (1015 GMT) after Yemeni pro-government forces received a "green light" from the Saudi-led coalition, they said.
The commanders spoke to an AFP correspondent in the town of Al Jah, approximately 30 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of rebel-held Hodeida.
Sources in the Saudi-led coalition said the alliance had carried out 18 air strikes on Huthi positions on the outskirts of Hodeida in recent hours.
According to medical sources in the province, 22 Huthi fighters have been killed over the past 24 hours by coalition raids, while three pro-government fighters were killed in a rebel ambush south of Hodeida.