Yemen: Coalition strikes continue to batter Houthi-held Hodeidah

This still image taken from video provided by Arab 24 shows Saudi-led forces gathering to retake the international airport of Yemen's rebel-held port city of Hodeida from the Shiite Houthi rebels Saturday

Battles continued outside Hodeida and coalition forces were working to cut off the main road that connects the port city to the capital, Sanaa.

The United Nations says the assault on Hodeidah could trigger a starvation, imperilling millions of lives.

"The military operations to liberate the city of Hodeida will not be stopped until we secure the city and its strategic port and that won't last too long", he said.

Yemeni media reported more than 500 Houthis were killed since the army and the coalition launched an offensive on Hodeidah on Wednesday.

Each side holds various parts of the airport.

The Yemeni army on Saturday claimed it had seized control of the rebel base at Hodeida's disused airport, which has been closed since 2014.

On Friday, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis that acknowledged reports that the us denied the UAE's request for "intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance" support for the Hodeida operation but still demanded answers about the USA military's ongoing assistance to the Saudi-led coalition. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a deadly military operation to capture Hudaydah after almost a month of sporadic clashes.


We call on you to immediately disclose the full extent of the USA military role in the Saudi-led war against Yemen's Houthis, including the use of special operations forces; disclose any role that the Pentagon is now performing, has been asked to perform, or is considering performing regarding an attack on the port of Hodeida; and issue a public declaration opposing this impending assault and restating the administration's position that Saudi Arabia and other parties to the conflict should accept an immediate ceasefire and move toward a political settlement to resolve the conflict. They are more suited than coalition forces for guerrilla warfare, should fighting extend to Hodeidah's densely populated neighbourhoods.

Rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi has urged his forces to put up fierce resistance and turn the region into a "quagmire" for the Saudi-led coalition troops.

Riyadh has accused the Houthis of using Hodeidah port to smuggle Iranian-made weapons, including missiles used to target Saudi cities - accusations denied by the group and Tehran.

Multiple rounds of UN-brokered talks between the rebels and the Hadi government have failed to find a solution to the conflict.

Griffiths, whose talks in Sanaa have been largely kept under wraps, is believed to be pressing the Houthis to cede control of the Red Sea port to a UN-supervised committee that would allow deliveries of commercial goods and aid to continue to flow.

In this context, Mohammed al-Sharif, deputy head of Yemen's civil aviation, said images circulated online about the airport had been taken in October 2016.

More than 22 million Yemenis are in need of aid, including 8.4 million who are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations, which has described the conflict as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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