Battle for Yemen's biggest port under way

Battle for Yemen's biggest port under way

Battle for Yemen's biggest port under way

Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's civil war. The government of exiled president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, partially based in Aden, issued a statement, claiming that the military operation was the last-ditch effort to "restore legitimacy to the entire national territory after exhausting all peaceful and political means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hodeidah".

"The liberation of Hudaydah port is a turning point in our struggle to recapture Yemen from the militias that hijacked it to serve foreign agendas", the exiled government said in a separate statement carried by state-run Yemeni media. "It will secure navigation in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and cut off the hands of Iran". The battle for Hodeidah, if the Houthis don't withdraw, also might mark the first major street-to-street urban fighting for the Saudi-led coalition.

The United Nations had been trying in the last few weeks to get the parties to reach a deal that would avert the attack, which it fears would further impede Yemenis' access to food, fuel and medicine, exacerbating the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis in the impoverished Arab state.

He said the coalition wanted the United Nations to take control of the port but it was prepared to take military action if the Houthis refused to withdraw.

Reem al-Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for global cooperation, has said if the port is wrested from the Houthis, the coalition could ease controls aimed at denying the group arms and ease the flow of goods and aid into Yemen, where millions face starvation and disease. 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.

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