Yemen war: USA to halt refuelling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft

Cheryl Sanders
November 15, 2018

The World Health Organisation estimates almost 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war since 2015.

The coalition has said that wresting control of Hodeidah would break the Houthis by cutting off their main supply line and force the group to adopt a softer stance in the negotiations to end the conflict, seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Iran.

The Huthi rebels, who seized the Red Sea city in 2014, have claimed the mining of areas across Hodeida province, airing footage late Tuesday of what they said were landmine explosions targeting pro-government forces.

A building in the port of Hodeida, a city in western Yemen controlled by Houthi rebels and targeted by a loyalist offensive backed by Saudi Arabia, was hit by an attack on Monday, it was reported on Tuesday.

"We are ready, and present, and our plans are in place" in case of an attack by the rival pro-government alliance, the spokesman said at a news conference broadcast on the rebels Al-Masirah TV, which did not give his name.

The deputy director of the port, Yehya Charafeddine, told AFP on Tuesday that the port's main entrance "had been the target of air raids [.] but the port is functioning normally".

The Saudi-led coalition now "appears determined to take Hodeidah, which in my opinion will still not allow the real start of a political solution", Mr Guterres said.

In a Friday statement, Yemen's internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden said its forces are advancing toward the north and west of Hodeida and across all fronts with cover from the coalition. He reported three wounded guards.

Residents reported on Tuesday that the fighting had slowed overnight, and rebel media did not report any new fighting.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Monday of a possible "catastrophic situation" if the port is destroyed. "We heard a few gunshots here and there at night, but it seems to be calm this morning", a resident told by telephone, requesting anonymity.

Hodeida port is under a near-total blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who accuse Iran of smuggling arms to the Huthis.

The visit comes as the kingdom faces a torrent of worldwide criticism over the murder of Saudi insider-turned-critic Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The United States has chose to halt refuelling of aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen.

The United States, Britain and France this week called for the cessation of hostilities in Yemen and the resumption of negotiations to end the war.

He added that there was "a consensus, between the United States, Russia, Europe and many states in the region, that it is finally time to end this conflict" but that any attempts to begin peace talks have been thwarted by the situation in Hodeida, which he described as "frozen".

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