Yemeni pro-government forces patrol during clashes against Shiite rebels in Yemen's western Dhubab district, about 30 kms (20 miles) north of the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait, on January 11, 2017. (AFP/Xinhua)
ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Intense fighting between Saudi-backed government forces and Shiite Houthi rebels in western Yemen claimed the lives of 120 fighters from the two-warring sides over the past 24 hours, official sources said Sunday.
In the latest armed confrontations in and around the country's Red Sea coastal city of Mocha, according to a local official, more than 95 members of the pro-Houthi Shiite forces were killed and many others injured.
Heavy reinforcements of the pro-Houthi forces were mobilized to confront Saudi-backed government forces in the strategic town of Mocha, sparking fierce battles, the source said on condition of anonymity.
Government forces lost more than 25 soldiers within 24 hours but managed to repulse several attacks launched by Houthi rebels, according to the local source.
Aircraft and armored vehicles from the Saudi-led coalition were heavily involved in the anti-Houthi offensive, the source said.
On Saturday, the Saudi-led Arab coalition said an Iranian-made military drone was destroyed by surface-to-air missile launched by UAE air forces in Mocha.
Last week, Yemeni government forces and allied southern resistance fighters took full control over Mocha, along with its seaport, and driven Shiite Houthi rebels from the strategic area.
Scores of fighters from the pro-Houthi forces immediately surrendered themselves to while many others fled Mocha, army commanders said.
The forces loyal to Yemen's internationally recognized President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour were deployed in and around Mocha, a government official told Xinhua by phone.
The government source said that bomb squads are dismantling hundreds of landmines and bombs planted by Houthis in Mocha.
The loss of Mocha, located about 75 km away from the Bab al-Mandab strait, is considered a big setback for the Shiite Houthis, according Yemeni observers.
In all, the fierce battles in Yemen's western coast that started several days ago have left more than 250 Houthi fighters killed and over 350 others injured, medical sources said.
Yemen has been suffering from a bloody war between Saudi-supported government forces and Houthi rebels for around two years.
In September 2014, Houthi rebels, with support from forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted the UN-backed transitional government and seized Sanaa, the capital.
The internationally recognized government now controls the south and some eastern parts, while the Houthi/Saleh alliance controls the other parts, including Sanaa.
The UN has sponsored several rounds of peace talks between the warring factions, but with no success so far.
Airstrikes and fighting on the ground have killed about 10,000 people, half of them civilians, injured more than 35,000 others, according to humanitarian agencies. More than 2 million people have been displaced.