The forces have been moving north and have now recaptured the port at Bab el-Mandeb, as preparation to attempt the recapture of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city (after Sanaa and Aden).
In the western part of the country, residents said that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have destroyed a main bridge linking the Red Sea city of Hodeidah and Sanaa, effectively cutting transportation links between the country’s main sea port and the capital.
The strikes hit the celebration in al-Wahga, a village near the strategic Strait of Bab al-Mandab, said the officials.
The toll stands at 131 people after “more bodies were taken overnight to hospital and numerous wounded succumbed to their injuries”, a local health official told AFP requesting anonymity.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the usual outrage.
He added that the coalition would concede a mistake if it made one but Yemen’s conflict was chaotic with a grab bag of armed groups active, and that civilians sometimes could not differentiate between cannon, mortar and Katyusha rocket fire.
Rupert Colville, spokesman for the office of the United Nations human rights chief, said that “if the numbers are as high as suggested, this may be the single deadliest incident since the start of the conflict”.
Hadi also blamed the Houthis for the humanitarian crisis. World Food Programme spokeswoman Bettina Luescher said 10 of Yemen’s 22 governorates were so short of food that famines were looming.
The spokesman for the coalition, Brig Gen Ahmed Al Assiri, denied the allegation, saying: “The coalition did not conduct any air strikes in the area over the past three days”.
The Houthis have been in control of the strategic area for several months and still control the vast majority of the area near Bab al-Mandab, according to the officials.
“The Yemeni army and coalition forces are now seeking to retake Mokha and the rest of the Taez province to better secure Aden”, another military source said.
The president and his government returned to Yemen and are now based in Aden after six months of exile in Saudi Arabia. “This is totally false news”, as reported by RT.