UAE envoy defends targeting of Yemen’s Hodeida port

Losing Hudaida would seriously weaken the Houthis by severing supply lines from the Red Sea to their stronghold in the capital Sanaa

The Saudi-led coalition began its attack on the Red Sea port town Wednesday. "Our food supplies will run out within a week and there is no water", Fatima, 56, said, adding that bottled water was very expensive.

Pro-government fighters army troops walk in a position they retook from Houthi fighters near the Republican Palace in the northwestern city of Taiz, Yemen May 29, 2017.

"People are saying water has been disrupted in parts of Hodeidah already. Unless mandated by the UN Security Council, Malaysia has no business being involved in the war in Yemen", he said. An Aramco official said the company's facilities were safe and operating normally.

A Hodeidah resident told Reuters that a considerable number of residents were now leaving the city.

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A displaced Yemeni woman from Hodeida comforts a child in their shelter at a make-shift camp for displaced people in the northern district of Yemen's Hajjah province on 19 June, 2018. "Many people are fleeing these neighborhoods and going deeper into the city centre".

United Nations officials estimate that 600,000 people live in and around Hodeidah and that in a worst-case scenario the battles could cost up to 250,000 lives.

He said that Arab Coalition operations to liberate Hodeida are aimed at allowing Yemen's legitimate government to restore security and stability to the strategic port, alleviate the humanitarian crisis and to break the deadlock in the political process.

The Hodeidah port remained open on Tuesday with the UN World Food Programme racing to unload three ships containing enough food for six million people for one month, WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told reporters in Geneva.

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Though the coalition pledged to try to avoid battles in crowded urban neighborhoods, the Houthis were well dug into Hodeidah as it constitutes the key supply line to the core northern territory they control, including the capital, Sanaa.

The UN is already anxious the worst humanitarian crisis in the world will be exacerbated by the fight as civilians across all of Yemen depend on food, water, and medicine from the port city.

The Arab alliance says it aims to foil what Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regard as Iranian expansionism throughout the Middle East. They say they reflect a popular revolt against state corruption and are protecting the Yemen from foreign invasion.

The Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces on Tuesday intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Iran-backed Houthi militias targeting the city of Khamis Mushayt in the southern Asir region.

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