Saudi-led coalition enters Yemen's Hodeida airport

Forces from an Arab alliance have "freed" the airport in Yemen's main port city of Hodeida, the media office of the Yemeni military allied with the Saudi-led coalition said.

War pits Houthis against coalition near Red Sea port of Hobdeida

Yemeni pro-government forces flash the victory gesture as they arrive in al-Durayhimi district, about nine kilometres south of Hodeidah International Airport on Wednesday. (Nabil Hassan/AFP/Getty Images)

Forces from an Arab alliance have "freed" the airport in Yemen's main port city of Hodeida, the media office of the Yemeni military allied with the Saudi-led coalition said.

"Army forces backed by the resistance and the Arab alliance freed Hodeida international airport from the grip of the Houthi militia," the media office said on Twitter on Saturday.

It said technical teams were now de-mining the area.

Victory for the Saudi-led alliance in their first attempt to capture a strategic part of a well-defended city could put the Shia Houthis in their weakest position in the three-year conflict, since Hodeida is the group's sole Red Sea port.

A defeat could also cut off supply lines to the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, and possibly force them to negotiate as the world's biggest humanitarian disaster ravages Yemen.

The port serves as the entry point for 70 per cent of the impoverished country's imports as it teeters on the brink of famine.

The offensive in Hodeida could trigger famine imperilling millions of lives, the UN has warned. Around 22 million people in Yemen depend on the humanitarian aid efforts, with 8.4 million at risk of starvation.

Samy Mansour, head of the emergency room at Al-Thawra Hospital, received two dead and 12 wounded because of fighting in the region.

"We're still treating people on the scene and transporting them to the hospital," he said.

Houthis rule the most populous areas of Yemen, a poor nation of about 30 million people that had been destabilized by internal splits and al-Qaeda before the war erupted.

The war pits the resilient Houthis, highly experienced in mountain warfare, against the Saudi-led coalition with its superior weaponry, including fighter planes.