Yemeni officials say government forces retake strategic city

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni forces loyal to the country's internationally recognized government on Tuesday recaptured a key crossroads town in the southwestern province of Hodeidah in an effort to cut off supply lines to the Shiite rebels, officials said.

The forces backed by airstrikes from a Saudi-led coalition took control of the town of Hays after two weeks of fierce fighting against the rebels, the officials said. The fighting has killed at least 85 people from both sides in the past 48 hours, they said.

Yemen's war pits the Saudi-led coalition allied with the internationally recognized government against Shiite Houthi rebels, who are allied with Iran and control much of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

The internationally recognized government and the coalition aimed at cutting off supply lines from the central province of Ibb to the rebels in Hodeidah, the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned on Tuesday that thousands of Yemenis with kidney failure are at risk of dying unless the country's remaining dialysis centers receive more supplies and their medical staffs are paid.

"The urgent needs of dialysis patients underscore how (the) conflict has devastated Yemen's health care system, negatively affecting many people with long-term health concerns," Alexandre Faite, ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen, said in a statement.

The statement said 25 percent of dialysis patients in Yemen have died every year since the civil war began in 2015. More dialysis supplies, functioning dialysis machines and funding for staff salaries are urgently needed to ensure the mortality rate does not rise further for Yemen's's 4,400 renal failure patients, it added.

The war has been locked in a bloody stalemate for most of the last three years. It has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced 2 million and helped spawn a devastating cholera epidemic in the Arab world's poorest country.

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