Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen toward southern border city
Jun 23, 2018, 02:59
Col. Turki Al-Malki, spokesman of the Coalition forces to restore legitimacy in Yemen, said that the missile was launched deliberately from Saada governorate of Yemen to target densely populated civilian areas. He added in a statement that there were no civilian casualties in the fighting, and said that after capturing the airport, the coalition will press the rebels to accept a political settlement.
The Arab states say their aim is to seize the airport and port quickly and to avoid street battles in the city center.
A resident said the forces stormed the airport after fierce battles broke out early in the morning between coalition forces and Iran-aligned Houthi fighters who hold the main port city of Hodeidah.
Government forces broke through the airport perimeter fence on Tuesday sparking heavy fighting in which at least 33 militia and 19 soldiers were killed - according to AFP. The Houthis extract payments on goods that are trucked through the areas they control, forcing up food costs. A loss or drawn-out clashes for the Saudi-led coalition would deal another blow to Riyadh's efforts to win the proxy war with regional rival Iran.
Kilo 16 is also where the Houthis have deployed the 10th Republican Guards brigade, who have the biggest rebel military base, Mr Al Mashra'ee said. He said four of the dead were women. The driver was digging trenches for Houthi fighters, witnesses said. He briefed the Security Council by video from Sanaa on his proposals to restart political negotiations to end the three-year conflict in Yemen.
The ambassador explained that Houthis' failure to accept a political solution and repeated refusal to United Nations envoy's proposal to hand over the port left the Arab coalition with no option but to pursue a military solution to protect innocent Yemeni civilians and ensure a safe passage of aid shipments.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general, said about 5,200 families or about 26,000 people have left the region to seek safety adding that "the number is expected to increase as hostilities continue".
The coalition has helped pro-government forces regain control of the south and much of the Red Sea coast but the rebels still control Sanaa and most of the north.
Troops from the UAE and neighbouring Saudi Arabia are the mainstay of an Arab coalition that has been fighting the Huthi Shiite rebels in support of the Yemeni government since 2015.
The battle for Hodeida has sparked fears of a new escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which is already teetering on the brink of starvation.
It lies just eight kilometers (five miles) from the city's port, through which three-quarters of Yemen's imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.
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