ADEN, Yemen, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's internationally-backed President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi ordered Wednesday his armed forces to take a decisive military action and liberate Hodeidah from the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthis.
The official Saba News Agency reported that "President Hadi ordered the national armed forces to launch a wide-scale military operation to liberate Hodeidah and rescue its population from a humanitarian disaster."
The Yemeni president asked the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to provide full support for the Yemeni forces on-ground in order to terminate the liberation battle of Hodeidah as soon as possible.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) operating as part of the Saudi-led coalition heavily participated in Hodeidah operation, called "Golden Victory," which started early this morning local time in Yemen.
The Yemeni government forces, with support and participation from the UAE forces operating within the Arab Coalition, made rapid progress towards Hodeidah Airport and captured scores of Houthi fighters.
Sources told Xinhua that more than 60 airstrikes were launched against the Houthi-held sites in Hodeidah, destroying armored vehicles and killing scores of rebels.
The Iranian-backed Houthis claimed to have hit and destroyed a UAE warship off the coast of Yemen, near Hodeidah, but no confirmation was revealed yet.
Earlier in the day, the air force of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition dropped pamphlets on Hodeidah telling all civilians to avoid being near militia gatherings, asking them to stay in their homes for their own safety.
The pamphlets said that all movements detected on the streets of Hodeidah will be targeted by the Saudi-backed Yemeni military forces.
The United Nations has warned the attack on Hodeidah could kill 250,000 people but the UAE and its local Yemeni allies are just pressing ahead anyway.
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 Saudi- and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces continued in making ground advancement during the battles taking place with Houthis on Yemen's west coast near of 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.