Port still running in Yemen's Hodeida after air strikes

Port still running in Yemen's Hodeida after air strikes

The fighting around the city, a vital lifeline for most Yemen's population, threatens to worsen Yemen's already-dire humanitarian situation and risks the obstruction of crucial assistance to the country endangering the lives of millions of Yemenis.

Other residents have said they feared being trapped in the city, where only one major exit route is still open to traffic and the transport of food and aid, on the northern edge of the city.

Aid groups fear for the safety of almost 600,000 people living in Hodeidah - and for millions of others dependent on its port for what little food and humanitarian aid trickling into blockaded Yemen.

The UN is pushing for peace talks by the end of the year.

"We are now warning that by allowing this to go on, parties to the conflict and their global backers will be responsible for the death, injury and suffering of millions of people", Mohamed Abdi, the council's director in Yemen, said in a statement.

The multi-pronged assault, backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, has overwhelmed many Houthi-controlled neighborhoods of Hodeidah, sparking nonstop street-to-street fights between the advancing government troops and the Houthi rebels holed up in the city.

Asked by AFP, coalition spokesman Saudi Colonel Turki al-Maliki said he was going to check.

The main gate "was the target of air strikes. but the port is operating normally", the port's deputy director Yehya Sharafeddin told AFP by telephone.

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Three security guards were wounded in the attack, he said.

Four employees in Hodeida port who requested anonymity told AFP that a rebel commander had been killed in the Monday attack.

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. Yemeni officials said Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, that an informal agreement to reduce hostilities between Saudi-led coalition forces and rebels in and around Hodeida has taken hold.

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.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last Friday that Washington would support the Saudi decision to use the Saudi-led coalition's own capabilities to conduct inflight refueling missions in Yemen, indicating that the U.S. side would stop refueling the coalition aircraft.

The alliance accuses Iran of smuggling arms to the Houthis through Hodeida Port. Tehran denies the charges.

Griffiths has said he hopes to host talks in Sweden by the end of the year.

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