World

Fighting rages in Yemen near Bab al-Mandab, strategic Red Sea shipping strait

  • A fighter against Shiite rebels known as Houthis holds a weapon on a road leading to the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

    A fighter against Shiite rebels known as Houthis holds a weapon on a road leading to the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)  (The Associated Press)

  • Fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis gather on a road leading to the strategic Strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

    Fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis gather on a road leading to the strategic Strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)  (The Associated Press)

  • Fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis gather on a road leading to the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)

    Fighters against Shiite rebels known as Houthis gather on a road leading to the strategic strait of Bab al-Mandab off Aden, Yemen, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. Military and security officials said fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea. (AP Photo/Wael Qubady)  (The Associated Press)

Military and security officials say fierce battles are ongoing between military units loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and pro-Hadi fighters against Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units in Bab al-Mandab, the strategic southern entrance to the Red Sea.

The officials, who have remained neutral in the conflict that has splintered the country, said pro-Hadi units are backed by air support from the Saudi-led coalition and have sent reinforcements from nearby Aden.

The Houthis have been in control of the strategic area, though pro-Hadi military units gained control of several positions. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.