ADEN, Yemen, April 12 (Xinhua) -- About 16 Shiite Houthi fighters and four pro-government soldiers were killed during armed confrontations in southwestern Yemen within the past 24 hours, an army commander told Xinhua.
The army source said on condition of anonymity that "pro-government forces supported by UAE armored vehicles and warplanes made ground advances and controlled several positions during the fighting with Houthis in the eastern part of the Red Sea coast city of Mocha."
More than 16 fighters of the Shiite Houthi group were killed and scores of others injured in the fighting near the Mocha city, the army commander said.
He added that "about four soldiers loyal to the internationally-recognized government died in the battles with Houthis there."
Moreover, local sources close to Yemen's government based in Aden said that "an anti-Houthi military campaign will start soon to liberate Yemen's province of Hodeidah. Preparations are underway."
In February, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces and allied southern resistance fighters completely seized full control over the Red Sea coastal city of Mocha along with its seaport and ousted the Shiite Houthi rebels from the strategic area.
Seizing the strategic Red Sea port city of Mocha located about 75 kilometers away from the Bab al-Mandab Strait is considered a big loss for the Shiite Houthis, according to Yemeni observers.
Yemen has been suffering from a civil war and a Saudi-led military intervention for around two years. The civil war began after the Houthi militants with support from forces loyal to the former president ousted the UN-backed transitional government and occupied capital Sanaa militarily in September 2014.
The civil war, ground battles and airstrikes have already killed more than 10,000 people, half of them civilians, injured more than 35,000 others and displaced over two millions, according to humanitarian agencies.