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vegassports-odds.com June 18, 2018


Yemen troops mass in bid to retake key port

14 June 2018, 02:21 | Taylor George

Saudi-Led Alliance Gears up for Assault on Key Yemeni Port City

Battle for Yemen's biggest port under way

Lise Grande, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, speaking by telephone from the capital Sanaa, said that her office was drawing up options to ensure aid delivery to millions of Yemenis "in case of a possible siege of Hodeidah", including a humanitarian airlift.

In the meantime, the United Nations Security Council will urgently meet on Thursday, reportedly following a request from the United Kingdom, which, alongside the U.S., is quite ironically one of Saudi Arabia's top arms suppliers and has repeatedly been accused of hypocritically profiteering from the conflict in Yemen.

Meanwhile, the UN and Western nations say Iran has supplied the Houthis with weapons from assault rifles up to the ballistic missiles they have fired deep into Saudi Arabia, including at the capital, Riyadh.

He said "aid operations will be severely challenged in the event of sustained fighting in densely populated urban areas" and stressed that people trying to flee conflict areas "must be allowed to do so without any hindrance".

Bombardment was heavy, with one aid official reporting 30 strikes in 30 minutes. "We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong", said CARE's acting country director, Jolien Veldwijk.

Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV announced the attack, citing military sources.

"Under worldwide humanitarian law, parties to the conflict have to do everything possible to protect civilians and ensure they have access to the assistance they need to survive", Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, told Reuters by email.

The Saudi-led coalition has accused the rebels of using Hudaydah to smuggle in Iranian weapons. "We call on them to exercise restraint & engage with political efforts to spare Hodeidah a military confrontation", he tweeted.

"It's actually surprising that an exodus has not happened yet", United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told reporters in Geneva.

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He added that he suspected he "somewhat had something to do with this North Korean situation". Mr Trump famously vowed to unleash "fire and fury" if Pyongyang kept threatening the US.

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Malnutrition, cholera and other diseases have killed or sickened thousands of civilians over the years. Saudi Arabia has been targeted for leading an Arab coalition in fighting the Houthi rebels since 2015.

The Arab states say they will try to keep the port running and can ease the crisis once they seize it by lifting import restrictions they have imposed. Port workers told Reuters five ships were docked at Hodeida port unloading goods, but no new entry permits would be issued on Wednesday. A major battle could test that support, especially if many civilians are killed or supplies disrupted.

Western countries, particularly the United States and Britain, have quietly backed the Arab states diplomatically and sell them billions of dollars a year in arms, but have mostly avoided direct public involvement so far in the Yemen conflict. Aid agencies urged President Emmanuel Macron to cancel a planned Paris conference on Yemen co-chaired with Saudi Arabia.

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the main coalition partners, had commented on the claim at the time of writing, but Jane's has previously revealed that they have not reported earlier Yemeni rebel attacks on their naval vessels in the Red Sea.

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

The attack is aimed at driving out Iranian-aligned Shiite rebels known as Houthis, who have held Hodeida since 2015, and break the civil war's long stalemate.

The United Nations says it remains in Yemen's Red Sea port of Hodeida, the target of a new offensive by a Saudi-led coalition, and is working with aid groups to help those affected by the conflict.

In a statement responding to the potentially catastrophic attack on Hodeidah, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, took aim at both the U.S. and the United Kingdom for providing crucial political and military support for the Saudi-led assault, arguing that such complicity reveals "the true face of their foreign policy". "The Saudi coalition has not advanced at all in Hodeidah".

The Sunni Muslim Arab states see the Houthi rise as expansionism by their Shi'ite foe Iran. They aim to restore Hadi, who was driven into exile in 2014.



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