Yemeni pro-government forces ride in a military vehicle on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida as they fight for control of the city from Huthi rebels on November 10. Photo: AFP

The battle for control of Yemen’s insurgent-held city of Hodeida reached residential streets on Sunday, as the Huthi rebels strongly resisted government forces backed by Saudi Arabia, according to military sources.

Fears for the safety of civilians have been intensifying since November 1, when loyalist forces resumed an operation to take Hodeida. The Red Sea port city has been held by Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi insurgents since 2014.

Mariam Aldogani, Save the Children’s field coordinator in Yemen, said Hodeida’s residents are living in a “state of fear.”

“There is a lot of fear among residents, and some fear keeping their [loved ones] in hospitals as battles intensify,” she said by phone about a kilometer away from the port.

Troops entered residential streets in eastern Hodeida on Sunday with the objective of “purging them of insurgents,” said a military official.

Residents south of the scene of Sunday’s fighting said they could hear gunfire and shelling all night.

“We had three people from our neighborhood hospitalized over the weekend for shrapnel wounds,” said Marwa, who asked that her name be changed.

“We’re really tired. It’s not safe. We have no money. This time no one is leaving. We can’t afford it, and it’s too dangerous.”

– With reporting from Agence France-Presse

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