Pro-government troops parade to mark the 55th anniversary of the September 1962 revolution in the war-torn southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen September 26, 2017. (File photo: VCG)
ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- The pro-government Yemeni forces on Sunday advanced in the Red Sea coastal city of Hodeidah controlled by the Shiite Houthi rebels after two days of intense battles, local sources said.
The government forces of the Giants Brigades captured new sites from the Houthi gunmen amid a wide-scale offensive to capture the strategic port city.
"The Engineering Faculty of Hodeidah along with other institutions was seized by the Giants Brigades," an army commander loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government told Xinhua by phone.
Several areas surrounding the Kiko-16 highway were captured by the government forces following hours of intense fighting, the army commander said on condition of anonymity.
The ongoing fighting between the two warring rivals, along with daily Saudi-led airstrikes, left scores of casualties.
More than 50 Houthi rebels were killed during helicopter shelling and ground fighting within the past 24 hours, medical sources based in Hodeidah confirmed to Xinhua.
Landmines and Houthi mortar shells killed 20 soldiers during the ongoing offensive in Hodeidah, according to other sources of government-controlled medical centers.
Early in the day, the Houthi-affiliated Masirah television network reported that a ballistic missile fired by the their fighters targeted pro-government forces in Hodeidah, causing heavy casualties.
The Yemeni government is seeking to expel Houthi rebels out of Hodeidah in recent days despite warnings by international humanitarian agencies.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked into a civil war since the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.
Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the country with the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 7 million Yemenis on the brink of famine and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.