Yemen: Saudi-led coalition begins battle for vital port

Evarado Alatorre
Junio 13, 2018

Iranian-aligned Shia rebels known as Houthis and their allies for years have held the Red Sea port, crucial to food supplies in a nation on the brink of starvation after years of war. The sound of heavy, sustained gunfire clearly could be heard in the background.

Large-scale ground operations, supported by the air and naval forces of the Saudi-led coalition, began to move in on the city from numerous directions, a military source told the publication.

The UAE said an ultimatum for the United Nations to convince the Iran-aligned Houthi movement to evacuate Yemen's main port of Hodeidah expired on Tuesday night.

Yemen's exiled government "has exhausted all peaceful and political means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hodeidah", it said in a statement.

"Liberation of the port of Hodeidah is a milestone in our struggle", the statement reads. "Liberation of the port is the beginning of the fall of the Houthi militias".

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Forces loyal to Yemen's exiled government and irregular fighters led by Emirati troops have neared Hodeida in recent days. The port is 150km (90 miles) south-west of Sanaa, Yemen's capital held by the Houthis since they swept into the city in September 2014.

The United Nations had been trying in the last few weeks to get the parties to reach a deal that would avert the attack, which it fears would further impede Yemenis' access to food, fuel and medicine, exacerbating the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Arab state.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's civil war. The Saudi-led coalition has been criticized for its airstrikes killing civilians.

The UN says some 600,000 people live in and around Hodeida, and "as many as 250,000 people may lose everything - even their lives" in the assault.

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