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Yemen VP: Saudi-led Troops Retake Aden

Pro-Yemen government fighters are at the frontline against Shi'ite Houthi rebels in the port city of Aden, Yemen, July 16, 2015.

The vice president of Yemen's exiled government said Saudi-backed troops have recaptured the southern port city of Aden from Shi'ite rebels.

Fighters loyal to the exiled government launched a major offensive this week against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Aden, Yemen's second-largest city.

"The government announces the liberation of the province of Aden on the first day of Eid al-Fitr," said Vice President Khaled Bahah via Facebook Friday.

The Houthis seized Aden in March, forcing the government of President Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi to seek refuge in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has since carried out three months of devastating air strikes on the Houthis, helping lead to a major humanitarian crisis.

Humanitarian cost

At least 3,500 people have been killed in the fighting. More than 20 million people – about 80 percent of Yemen's population – now need some form of food aid.

U.N.-backed peace talks have failed to come up with a resolution to the conflict, which began late last year when the Houthis, along with fighters loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, took over the capital, Sana'a.

An "unconditional humanitarian pause" announced by the U.N. earlier this month failed to take hold. Both sides in the conflict have blamed each other for not taking peace efforts seriously.

Aden, which sits near the crucial Bab al-Mandab shipping lane, has been a major center of the fighting. Large portions of the city have been destroyed.

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