Saudi-Backed Forces Seize Yemen's Hodeidah Airport

Cheryl Sanders
June 23, 2018

Houthi forces had blocked roads to the airport, they said.

Saudi-led airstrikes on Tuesday heavily bombed Houthi positions and snipers who took over rooftops in Hodeida as forces battled to take control over the airport of the city.

Referring to the recent assault by the Saudi-led coalition on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, the body has called on Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu to explain the actual reasons for the presence of Malaysian troops in Riyadh and their involvement in the war in Yemen.

The Yemen conflict has killed almost 10,000 people, majority civilians, since 2015.

The Western-backed Arab alliance launched an onslaught on Hodeidah six days ago in order to turn the tables in a long- stalemated proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has compounded instability across the Middle East.

"The airport was completely cleared, Thank God, and is under control", the coalition commander for the Red Sea coast, Abdul Salaam Al-Shehi said speaking in Arabic in the video posted on Twitter.

The port remains open for incoming ships and Gargash said the UAE had plans for "airdrops" of food if necessary.

Gargash said the coalition was counting on Martin Griffiths, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen who arrived in Sanaa on Saturday, to secure a Houthi agreement to leave Hudaida.

Mr Al Mashra'ee said the Houthis used Kilo 16 to move fuel, food and weapons between the city and other fronts such as rebel pockets in Zabid and Al Tuhaiyta is southern Hodeidah province.

But Griffiths departed Sanaa on Tuesday without comment, witnesses said, leaving unclear whether any headway was made.

Aid groups fear a protracted fight could force a shutdown of the port and potentially tip millions into starvation. Officials involved in the Saudi-led campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen known as Houthis showed journalists on Tuesday materiel captured on the battlefield that they alleged show Iran's hand in arming the rebels. "The Houthis have been using tanks", a resident close to the coastal strip told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified.

The Houthis, who control most of the populated areas in the unstable nation of 30 million people, deny the Arab states' assertions they are puppets of Iran.

Capturing Hodeidah would give the coalition of mostly Gulf states a victory in the battle for the city.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their allies intervened in 2015, after President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into exile as the rebels overran much of the country.

Coalition-backed pro-government forces on Wednesday began the largest attack against the Huthi rebels in the past three years in the aim of retaking Hodeida.

Other reports by iNewsToday