Saudi-UAE air raids target Yemen’s Hodeidah

Saudi-UAE coalition air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeida province have killed and wounded several people, medical sources said.

A spokesperson from the Houthi-affiliated health ministry said Tuesday’s attacks on the city of Duraihami killed at least 13 civilians and injured 24 others.

Doctor Youssef al-Hadri said that latest attacks hit a heavily populated area, damaging civilian infrastructure including medical facilities and mosques.  

Hadri added that medics from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were being prevented from entering the city.

The ICRC for its part expressed concern with recent developments in the city and said it was still assessing the extent of the damage.

Fighting between Houthi rebels and Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-UAE coalition, along the eastern outskirts of rebel-held Duraihami city has intensified in recent weeks as the two Gulf nations look to seize control of the strategic province. 

Hodeidah has been under the control of the Houthis since 2014, along with other west coast ports and much of northern Yemen.

The city’s seaport was responsible for delivering 70 percent of Yemen’s imports – mostly humanitarian aid, food and fuel – before 2015.

Yet, Saudi Arabia says that the Houthis, who reportedly generate $30m to $40m a month in revenue from the port, are using it to smuggle in weapons from Iran.

The war in Yemen, the region’s poorest country, started in 2014 after the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels seized control of the capital, Sanaa, and began pushing south towards the country’s third-biggest city Aden.

Concerned by the rise of the Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states launched a military offensive in 2015 in the form of a massive air campaign aimed at reinstalling the government of President  Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi .

According to the UN, at least 10,000 people have been killed in the three-year war – a death toll that has not been updated in years and is certain to be far higher. 

In retaliation, the Houthis have launched dozens of missiles at the kingdom. Saudi authorities say over the past three years 90 ballistic missiles were fired by the rebels.

Multiple rounds of United Nations-brokered peace talks have failed to achieve any breakthrough.

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