ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Loud explosions were heard across Yemen's Red Sea coastal city of Hodeidah on Friday evening, as pro-government forces began a wide-scale military offensive against the Houthi rebels.
According to local residents, non-stop explosions are still rocking the main entrances of Hodeidah amid intensified airstrikes by Saudi-led warplanes against Houthi-controlled sites.
"We clearly hear the sounds of explosions and see shining lights caused by shells across the city's entrances," a Hodeidah-based resident told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, state-run Saba news agency reported that the government forces began a large-scale military operation to liberate the entire province of Hodeidah.
The military operation achieved significant progress on the ground and drove the Houthi rebels out of key areas in Hodeidah, Saba said.
"Five well-armed brigades surrounded Houthi-controlled areas from different directions and started attacking the city," an army commander told Xinhua by phone.
The Houthi-affiliated Masirah television station reported that more than 60 airstrikes were launched by the Saudi-led coalition against the Kilo16 area and other surrounding areas in Hodeidah during the past hours.
Houses and civilian properties were badly affected by the continuing Saudi-led airstrikes, said Masirah TV.
The Yemeni government is seeking to expel Houthi rebels out of the strategic city of Hodeidah in recent days despite warnings by international humanitarian agencies.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked into a civil war since the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.
Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the country with the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 7 million Yemenis on the brink of famine and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.