Saudi-led coalition seizes Yemen's Hodeidah airport

Elias Hubbard
June 20, 2018

The spokesman for Yemen's armed forces says the airport is still controlled by the Yemeni forces.

"Unsurprisingly, there are advanced military components in the Houthi militias' hands", said Talal Al-Teneiji, an official at the UAE Foreign Ministry.

Hodeidah residents confirmed that clashes around the sprawling airport compound appeared to have abated. The driver was digging trenches for Houthi fighters, witnesses said.

It also citied a report from the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen to the UN Security Council, which said that the Saudi-led military coalition attacks in Yemen "may amount to war crimes", and that Malaysian military personnel were working alongside France, Britain, and the United States at the coalition's joint headquarters in Riyadh to coordinate the war against the Houthi rebels and their allies in Yemen.

The worldwide community has expressed grave concern over the offensive, which was launched last Wednesday after the UAE secured the support of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, allegedly against his will.

Hodeidah port's cranes are pictured from a nearby shantytown in Hodeidah, Yemen June 16, 2018.

The United Nations has described the conflict as the world's largest single humanitarian catastrophe.

With the coalition closing in on Hodeidah, a city of 600,000, aid agencies have warned that cholera could spread among the population if water sources are cut off.

"People are saying water has been disrupted in parts of Hodeidah already".

A Hodeidah resident told Reuters that a considerable number of residents were now leaving the city.

"We have been stuck in our houses for five days because we are afraid of going out due to the fighting".

Hodeidah's port is the conduit through which as much as 80 percent of Yemen's food, medical and commercial supplies enters the country.

The Hodeidah port remained open on Tuesday with the UN World Food Programme racing to unload three ships containing enough food for six million people for one month, WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told reporters in Geneva.

The Arab states say their aim is to seize the airport and port quickly and to avoid street battles in the city centre.

He said that Arab Coalition operations to liberate Hodeida are aimed at allowing Yemen's legitimate government to restore security and stability to the strategic port, alleviate the humanitarian crisis and to break the deadlock in the political process.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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