ADEN, Yemen, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Foreign nationals working in Yemen's western port city of Hodeidah left after internal fighting escalated there on Sunday, a military official told Xinhua.
"All foreign workers, over 200 of different nationalities, have left Hodeidah as the fierce battles raging over the control of the city intensified with aerial and naval bombing during the past days," the local military official said on condition of anonymity.
"The foreign workers mostly from Arab and other countries left Hodeidah for fear of their lives as they may be exploited or used as human shields by the Houthi rebels," the local source said.
Several employees and workers of international humanitarian organizations left Hodeidah also, according to the official.
Yemen's state television station based in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh confirmed that "about 200 foreigners were evacuated via a vessel from Hodeidah's port."
The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels since March 2015. More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the war that displaced over 3 million and pushed the impoverished country into the brink of famine.
The anti-Houthi Arab coalition has sent hundreds of troops to the Yemeni western coast in preparation for the advancement into Houthi-held Hodeidah, a long-time key military target declared by the coalition.
The Yemeni forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates continued in making ground advancement during the battles with Houthis on Yemen's west coast near Hodeidah airport.
Hodeidah is a vital lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian supplies to the Houthi-controlled northern provinces, including the country's capital Sanaa.