Saudi-backed local fighters capture coastal area in Yemen from Houthi rebels

A Saudi-led coalition scored its first major gains in Yemen since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed on Monday, when local fighters captured an area on the Red Sea coast from Houthi rebels, Reuters reported on Thursday. Local fighters loyal to Saleh captured the al-Khoukha district, around 350km south-west of the capital Sanaa, following fighting involving coalition forces during Wednesday night. The Houthi-run Saba news agency has reported heavy airstrikes by the coalition on Sanaa and in the Saada province in northern Yemen, but made no mention of any ground offensive in al-Khoukha. Houthi forces control Sanaa and much of the rest of the impoverished country. Three years of war has killed more than 10,000 people and brought Yemen to the verge of famine.