Yemeni security officials say fierce battles are ongoing between pro-government fighters clashing with Shiite Houthi rebels and allied military units along Yemen's Red Sea coast.

The officials, who remain neutral in the conflict that has splintered the country, say the fighting Sunday is taking place between Bab al-Mandab — the strategic entrance to the Red Sea — and the port city of Mokha. They say the Saudi-led coalition is attempting to clear a path for the pro-government fighters toward Mokha.

Medical officials in nearby Taiz say at least 14 dead bodies from Houthi forces arrived from the front lines. Houthi officials say the rebels have destroyed six opposing tanks and killed multiple pro-government fighters.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.