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NNA – Shia rebels fighting for the control of Yemen and forces backing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have engaged in fierce clashes in the country’s south, leaving more than 140 people dead in 24 hours, as the Red Cross faces delays to deliver vital supplies.
Monday’s clashes happened in Aden, a power base for Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia as the rebels, known as Houthis, expanded their control across the country.
Citing unnamed officials, the AFP news agency reported that 17 civilians were among more than 140 people killed in Aden, where fighting continued as rebels tried to seize a port in the city.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the death toll.
The clashes came amid reports that Hadi had sacked three of his top military officers. The officers include General Abdullah Khayran, the Chief of Staff; Deputy Chief of Staff General Zakariah al Shami and Head of Special Forces, General Abdularrazak Almrouni.
Relief workers have warned of a dire situation in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, where a Saudi-led coalition is waging an air war on the Iran-backed rebels.
The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) said that one passenger plane carrying staff was able to land in Sanaa on Monday, but that the organisation has not yet been able to find a cargo plane operator to fly supplies into the country.
Sitara Jabeen, the ICRC’s spokesperson, told Al Jazeera that the humanitarian situation was worsening.
“The situation in Yemen remains extremely critical. The conflict … has intensified, especially in Aden. We are still trying to find a cargo plane that can carry our supplies to Sanaa,” said Jabeen, speaking from the Yemeni capital.
“We got permission from the coalition yesterday [to deliver supplies], but so far we have not been able to find a logistical solution to this problem …There are less and less airlines that are flying to Sanaa and the country’s airline itself has suspended flights until further notice.”