At least 8 killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen's Hodeidah: Houthis

Aaron Brown
November 17, 2018

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday that the destruction of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians, could trigger a "catastrophic" situation. The deal comes just one day after UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen conflict, suggesting that worldwide pressure could help lead to a settlement.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Saudi King Salman on Monday during a visit to the kingdom to press its rulers to support United Nations efforts to end the conflict.

The Yemeni government, supported by Saudi Arabia, and the Houthi rebels, affiliated with Saudi arch enemy Iran, have been fighting for almost four years.

Air strikes against the Iran-aligned Houthis' fortifications were halted for more than 12 hours on Monday and street battles, which had been raging for a week on the outskirts of the Red Sea city, trapping civilians and endangering hospitals, died down, residents said.

The port's deputy director, Yahya Sharafeddine, said the main entrance to the docks had been "the target of air raids" but was fully functioning.

The Hodeida campaign has sparked fears of a new humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where 14 million people face the risk of starvation.

It's unclear whether the Donald Trump administration, which made a full-court press for the cease-fire late last month, will make a further push for a broader peace deal, but the news could change the UN's timetable as the world body had postponed talks until December.

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The rebels have begun to evacuate their wounded to Sanaa, the capital, which the Houthis seized during a 2014 takeover that included a string of ports on Yemen's coastline.

Almost 600 people have been killed since clashes erupted in Hodeida on November 1, ending a temporary suspension in a government offensive to take the city that began in June.

Hodeida port is under a near-total blockade by the coalition, who accuses Iran of smuggling arms to the Houthis.

United Nations mediator Martin Griffiths - whose efforts to host negotiations in Geneva in September failed - met with Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani in Riyadh for talks on reviving the peace process, Saudi Arabia s state news agency reported.

The World Health Organisation estimates almost 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war since 2015.

FILE - In this September 29, 2018 file photo, a cargo ship is docked at the Red Sea port city, of Hodeida, Yemen. But rights groups believe the toll may be five times as high.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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