Over 150 killed in weekend violence around Yemen's Hodeida

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni officials say fighting has escalated around the key port city of Hodeida, with more than 150 combatants killed over the weekend from both the rebel and government-backed side.

They say Sunday that airstrikes and naval artillery have pounded rebel positions around the Red Sea costal city, which government backed-troops launching a major ground assault seek to wrest from dug-in rebels. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Fierce fighting also erupted in Bayda and Saada provinces.

Yemen has been at war since March 2015 when Houthi rebels occupied northern regions and forced the government into exile. The Saudi-led coalition backing the exiled government accuses the Houthis of acting as Iran's proxy. The coalition has waged an extensive air campaign, causing thousands of deaths.