Yemen forces launch assault on rebel-held port city

Yemen forces launch assault on rebel-held port city

A Saudi-led coalition geared up on Tuesday for an assault on Yemen's main port, preparing to launch by far the biggest battle of a three-year-old war between an alliance of Arab states and the Houthi movement that controls Yemen's capital.

As the fighting continues, the Saudi led-coalition unveiled a "multi-faceted plan" to protect civilians in Hodeidah, which allegedly includes aid shipments from Saudi Arabia's southern city of Jizan and the UAE's capital, Abu Dhabi, AP reported.

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

"The liberation of the province of Hodeidah from the grip of the. militias, will be the beginning of the complete victory for the liberation of all the Yemeni lands", Yemen's government in exile said in a statement.

"We are in constant contact with all the parties involved to negotiate arrangements for Hodeidah that would address political, humanitarian, security concerns of all concerned parties", he said.

Agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Hodeidah port was evacuated earlier this week due to an imminent attack launched by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Satterfield declined to comment after the hearing when Al-Monitor asked him if the United States is still providing refueling support for Saudi and Emirati planes operating in Hodeidah.

Yemen's United Nations humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said a "worst case" in an assault on Hodedia would mean 250,000 people "losing everything - even their lives".

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Despite the fighting, the United Nations kept up its aid supplies.

"All peaceful and political means of removing the Houthi militia from Hodeida port have been exhausted", the government said in a statement carried by Yemen's state news agency Saba.

Its leader, exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, said his government had proposed compromises but would not let the Houthis hold the Yemeni people "hostage to a prolonged war which the Houthis ignited".

The US marginally backs the Saudi-led coalition, announcing yesterday that it's helping show the coalition which targets not to hit in order to limit civilian casualties.

"Some civilians are entrapped, others forced from their homes", said Jolien Veldwijk, the acting country director of the aid group CARE International, which works in Hodeida. "We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong". However, Griffiths' recent appointment as envoy and his push for new negotiations may have encouraged the Saudi-led coalition to strengthen its hand ahead of any peace talks with the Houthis.

Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since Iranian-backed Houthis overthrew the Yemeni government and seized control of the capitol three years ago.

Last month, the committee advanced legislation making U.S. midair refueling contingent on Saudi and Emirati efforts to engage in diplomacy, ensure access of humanitarian goods, reduce civilian casualties and avoid damaging critical infrastructure.

The Red Sea port, controlled by the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, serves as the entry point for 70 percent of the impoverished country's imports, but the coalition maintains that the rebels use it to smuggle weapons. Effort to kill Trump tariffs blocked Trump stokes confusion with pledge to halt Korean war games Five takeaways from Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un MORE and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWith caveats, Republicans praise Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un Pavlich: Pompeo: The man for the job on North Korea Five takeaways from Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un MORE on the eve of the offensive expressing "grave alarm".

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