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Yemen: France evacuates 44, as pro-government forces announce progress

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By Sarah Taylor  with AFP, Reuters
Yemen: France evacuates 44, as pro-government forces announce progress

The French army has evacuated 44 people of different nationalities from Balhaf, in the south of Yemen. Currently on board the Dixmude liner, they are expected to dock in Djibouti in the coming days, according to a statement from the French Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition and forces loyal to Yemen’s President Hadi appear to be pushing Shia Houthi rebels out of Aden.

Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for Saudi-led coalition, gave a press conference from Riyadh.

“Aden as a city is under control of the committees, he said. “The militias and their allies are still in some parts of the city. The logistic support that we provide – the coalition to the Popular Committees – is substantial and aids them to change the situation on the ground.”

The move marks a setback for the militants, who had been making advances in Yemen’s second city, which is also a powerbase for Hadi.

Days of Saudi-led airstrikes on Aden by a coalition of Sunni-Muslim states, mark Riyadh’s most aggressive move yet to counter Houthi advances in the region.

The military setback for the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militants came as Yemen’s department of health announced 185 people had died in Aden – 75 percent of them civilians – in nine days of fighting from March 26, 2015.

Some 1,282 are said to have been hospitalised with injuries.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has called for a 24-hour ceasefire in Yemen, to allow aid to reach those who need it.

Authorities, including the United Nations believe the country is on the brink of civil war.