Monday, 15 October, 2018

Coalition battles Houthis to liberate Hodeida

Residents of the city collect water from an Oxfam water tank Residents of the city collect water from an Oxfam water tank
Steven Clarke | 13 June, 2018, 23:21

The declaration was followed by airstrikes in and around Hoideidah port, hitting Houthi defences. Yemeni forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE massed around the key port city of Hodeida on June 13, 2018 in a bid to seize it from Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

By Wednesday evening, Emirati and Saudi forces were five kilometres south of the city's airport.

Quoting medical sources in the province, the AFP news agency reported that 22 Houthi fighters had been killed over the past 24 hours by coalition raids.

The Arab coalition intervened in the war in 2015 at the request of the internationally-recognised government of Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

More than 22 million Yemenis - three-quarters of the population - need some form of aid, and eight million do not know how they will obtain their next meal.

The US position on Hodeidah continues to shift wildly, however. We're in contact with parties to avoid further escalation.

The UN human rights office OHCHR estimates that at least 6,439 civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 injured since Saudi-backed forces began air strikes in Yemen in 2015.

To that end pro-government and UAE forces were trying to secure routes for civilians to leave the city and reach safer areas.

The coalition says it aims to protect Red Sea shipping.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and aids groups have been scrambling to stall the attack, warning that an assault on Hodeidah could spiral out of control, compounding already arguably the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.

"We don't think the capturing of Hodeidah will damage the peace".

We've got more newsletters we think you'll find interesting. Some 8.4 million people in Yemen face pre-famine conditions, according to the World Health Organisation.

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Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as Iranian proxies, but the rebels deny receiving military support from Tehran.

The UAE has said coalition forces plan to keep the port operational but warned that the Houthis could sabotage infrastructure and place land and sea mines as they withdrew.

"If there is a viable transition to a legitimate presence in Hodeidah this will alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people and facilitate the flow of goods and aid into Yemen", Hashimy said in a briefing.

And just to the north is the Ras Isa oil terminal - which served the Marib oilfields and was the country's main export terminal - and the nearby port of Saleef.

Other aid officials warn an attack on the port would set back chances of a political settlement and make it hard for the flow of aid to continue.

Bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador, wrote that Houthi rebels have attacked commercial and military ships, including those belonging to the U.S. He added that the "liberation of Hodaidah" is critical because of the threat Iran-backed Houthis pose to the security of the Red Sea.

The early stages of Wednesday's offensive followed statements from UAE and Saudi officials that military action was necessary.

In fact, the Trump Administration has become an increasingly vocal backer of the coalition, sharing its concerns about Iranian support for the Houthis, and in deference to close military partners like the United Arab Emirates.

Al-Maliki explained that the missile was heading towards Jazan and was deliberately launched to target civilian and populated areas.

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash earlier told French newspaper Le Figaro the deadline for a withdrawal from Hodeida by the Houthis expired early Wednesday morning.

Such action was "the Houthi response to global calls for their peaceful retreat", he added.

The United Nations and other aid groups already had pulled their global staff from Hodeida ahead of the rumoured assault.

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