Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Khashoggi Affair: Evidence mounts against Saudi Crown Prince

Read more

#TECH 24

Next stop space: Japanese company constructing nanotube 'space lift'

Read more

#THE 51%

The Gender Divide: Record number of women running in U.S. midterms

Read more

REPORTERS

Reporters: Brexit, a sea of uncertainty for fishermen

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Fishing in France's Grau du Roi harbour, a family tradition

Read more

FOCUS

French education reforms under tight scrutiny

Read more

ENCORE!

FIAC 2018: Paris's one-stop shop for Contemporary Art collectors

Read more

REVISITED

Semey Revisited: The legacy of nuclear testing in Kazakhstan

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

UK filmmaker on fate of unaccompanied minors in Calais

Read more

Middle East

Saudi-led forces launch attack on Yemen's port city of Hodeidah

© Saleh Al-Obeidi, AFP | An armoured vehicle belonging to Saudi-backed pro-government forces pictured on a main road 50 kilometres from the port city of Hodeidah, which Iran-backed Houthi insurgents seized in 2014.

Video by Peter O'BRIEN , Inès OLHAGARAY

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2018-06-14

Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition on Wednesday launched an assault on Yemen's main port city of Hodeidah, in the biggest battle of a three-year war between an alliance of Arab states and the Iran-aligned Houthis.

Coalition warplanes and warships were carrying out strikes on Houthi fortifications to support ground operations by Yemeni troops massed south of the Red Sea port, the internationally recognised Yemeni government in exile said in a statement issued by its media office.

The assault began after the expiry of a deadline set by the United Arab Emirates for the Houthis, who hold the capital Sanaa, to hand over the sole port under their control.

Yemen's biggest port, Hodeidah is the lifeline for the majority of Yemen's population, which lives in Houthi territory.

"The liberation of Hodeidah 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.

"The liberation of the port is the start of the fall of the Houthi militia and will secure marine shipping in Bab al-Mandab strait and cut off the hands of Iran, which has long drowned Yemen in weapons that shed precious Yemeni blood."

The assault is the first time since the Western-backed coalition of mostly Gulf states joined the war in 2015 that they have attempted to capture such a well-defended major city, with the aim of boxing in the Houthis in Sanaa and cutting their supply lines to force them to the negotiating table.

The alliance intervened in Yemen to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and thwart what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi see as the expansionist aims of their Shi'ite foe, Iran.

The Houthis deny they are Iranian pawns and say their revolt aims to target corruption and defend Yemen from invaders.

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.

The UAE has said coalition forces plan to keep the port operational but warned the Houthis could sabotage infrastrucure and place land and sea mines as they withdrew.

Reem al-Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for international 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.

Riyadh says the Houthis use the port to smuggle Iranian-made weapons, including missiles that have targeted Saudi cities - accusations denied by the group and Tehran.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2018-06-13

  • YEMEN

    Saudi-led strikes ‘destroy’ Houthi boats threatening tanker in Red Sea

    Read more

  • YEMEN

    Air strike hits presidential office in Yemen's rebel-held capital

    Read more

  • YEMEN

    Dozens of Yemen rebels killed in Saudi-led strike

    Read more

COMMENT(S)