Yemen: Saudi-led coalition begins battle for vital port


The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has launched an all-out assault on the rebel-held port of Hodeidah in a move that coalition leaders have claimed could be completed within a week. Sulaiman Almazroui, the United Arab Emirates’ UK ambassador, said the Red Sea port could be captured without disrupting vital humanitarian supply lines or directly endangering the lives of more than 600,000 people living in the city and surrounding areas.

Coalition warplanes and warships on Wednesday pounded fortifications in the Houthi-controlled city to support ground operations by Yemeni, UAE and Sudanese troops massed on its southern approaches. The information minister of the exiled Yemeni government, Muammar al-Iryan, warned Hodeidah residents not to “allow any sniper or gunmen from Houthi [rebel] militia on the roofs of your houses. Stay away from military camps … Do not store petrol products.”

Almazroui told reporters the coalition had contingency plans to replace any loss of aid caused by coalition airstrikes. Saying the operation, known as “Golden Victory”, was still in a preliminary phase, he explained “the way we see it going we don’t think it is going to take that long”, adding: “We are hoping it will take days not months. If things go as planned, there will be no shortage of food.”(theguardian)…[+]