ADEN, Yemen, May 16 (Xinhua) -- At least 40 Houthi rebels were killed and scores of others injured when Yemeni government forces launched a wide-scale military operation to liberate the western coast areas in the past 24 hours, an army commander told Xinhua.
The Yemeni army commander, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continued to make significant progress in the fighting against Houthis in the western coast areas and in Hodeidah province.
He said that helicopters of the UAE armed forces operating in Yemen supported the wide-scale military operation against Houthis.
According to the source, the second brigade of the Republican Guard forces backed by UAE also engaged in the fighting against Houthis and liberated large parts of Hayma district.
Other sources based in the area told Xinhua by phone that intensified aerial and naval bombardment targeted the Houthis in the districts of Zubaid and Jarahi in the Red Sea Coast throughout the day.
On Tuesday, the UAE Armed Forces, as part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, carried out "Operation Red Thunder," an all-out assault against the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea coast.
The UAE media outlets said that the military operation also aims to prevent the Houthis from planting marine mines that threaten the lives of local fishermen and international shipping lines.
Military observers said that the Houthis are facing a mounting pressure and failed to prevent the government forces advancement in the Red Sea coast areas.
The Houthi rebels are losing their grip on the western provinces and their territory is shrinking in a daily basis.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked into a civil war since the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including capital Sanaa, in 2014.
Saudi Arabia leads an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Iran-backed Houthi rebels forced him into exile.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with seven million Yemenis on the brink of famine and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.