Saudi-led coalition launches attack on Yemen's 'lifeline' port
Saudi-led coalition started an assault on Wednesday on vital port city in Yemen despite warnings by the UN that the battle for biggest Yemeni port will aggravate the country's already acute humanitarian crisis.
Coalition warplanes and warships were carrying out strikes on strategic Red Sea port of Hodeidah to support ground operations by Saudi-paid mercenaries.
The assault is the first time since the Western-backed coalition started the war in Yemen in 2015 and is expected to be by far the biggest of a three-year war.
Around 70 per cent of Yemen’s imports, including the vast majority of its food, comes through Hodeidah and the port is described as the country’s “lifeline”for the country's war-ravaged population.
The UN said last week that up to 250,000 people could die if the port is attacked or besieged.
The U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors on Monday at the request of Britain to be briefed on the situation after heavy fighting erupted near Hodeidah on Friday and Saturday.
After briefing the Security Council on Monday, U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told reporters that "if for any period Hodeidah were not to operate effectively the consequences in humanitarian terms would be catastrophic."
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore on Wednesday warned of an attack on Yemen's Red Sea city of Hodiedah by Saudi-led coalition forces.
UNICEF said at least 300,000 children currently live in and around the city, who have been suffering for so long already. “There are 11 million children in need of humanitarian aid and the attack will lead to choke off this lifeline and will have devastating consequences", the statement said.
The Minister of Public Health and Population Dr. Taha al-Mutawakil called on the United Nations to work to stop the aggression and siege and open the land, sea and air ports so that patients can travel abroad for treatment and to allow the access of medicines and medical supplies.
meanwhile, the Yemen's rocketry units of the army and popular forces fired on Wednesday a ballistic missile, Badr 1, towards the King Faisal military city in Jizan province.
The Yemeni army in recent months stepped up missile attacks against viotal and military bases in Saudi Arabia, which leads a military action to intervene in the internal affairs of the Yemeni people.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies attacked Yemen in March 2015 to bring back to power the deposed president of Yemen Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Thousands of Yemenis have been killed in the attacks conducted by the Saudi-US coalition and more than 2,000 have died due to a cholera epidemic.