Saudi-led airstrikes kill 15 civil­ians in Ye­men

Sit­u­a­tion in Ye­men’s Hu­day­dah ‘alarm­ing’, aid at risk: UN

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE -

At least 15 civil­ians, in­clud­ing one child, have been killed as the Saudi-led coali­tion re­sumed its airstrikes on the out­skirts of Ye­men’s port city of Hu­day­dah de­spite wide­spread in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism over the war’s im­pact on civil­ians. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports by Ye­men’s Ara­bic-lan­guage al-Masirah tele­vi­sion, about 20 civil­ians were also in­jured dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s bomb­ings that were launched af­ter a brief truce since July.

The UN warned Fri­day that shelling and airstrikes in Ye­men’s Hu­day­dah prov­ince have tar­geted hu­man­i­tar­ian work­ers and in­fra­struc­ture, threat­en­ing its abil­ity to feed 3.5 mil­lion “very hun­gry peo­ple.”

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was “ex­tremely con­cerned about the se­ries of se­cu­rity in­ci­dents in Hu­day­dah city th­ese past few days in and around de­con­flicted sites crit­i­cal for the hu­man­i­tar­ian re­sponse in Ye­men”, de­scrib­ing the sit­u­a­tion as “alarm­ing.”

The UN agency warned that “the con­flict [is] threat­en­ing the con­ti­nu­ity of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance to the city and sur­round­ing ar­eas where needs are among the high­est in the coun­try.”

Along­side the threat of com­bat, civil­ians also face se­vere short­ages of food, wa­ter and medicine in Hu­day­dah prov­ince, ac­cord­ing to the UN.

In Au­gust, WFP said it had pro­vided emer­gency food as­sis­tance to some 700,000 of the around 900,000 peo­ple in the prov­ince con­sid­ered to be at se­vere risk.

Agency spokesman Herve Ver­hoosel de­cried that a num­ber of se­cu­rity in­ci­dences had been re­ported since Wed­nes­day, in­clud­ing at the Red Sea Mill Si­los, which mill a quar­ter of the agency’s monthly wheat re­quire­ments in Ye­men.

“The on­go­ing clashes could jeop­ar­dize the ship­ments of 46,000 tons of wheat ex­pected to ar­rive to Hu­day­dah within the next ten days,” Ver­hoosel told re­porters in Geneva.

Clashes near the mill “could im­pact our abil­ity to feed up to 3.5 mil­lion very hun­gry peo­ple in north­ern and cen­tral Ye­men for one month,” he warned.

He said that a mor­tar shell launched by an uniden­ti­fied armed group had also hit a WFP ware­house in Hu­day­dah city “hold­ing enough food to as­sist 19,200 very hun­gry peo­ple.”

Saudis plan attack on Hu­day­dah food store

Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies are po­si­tioned to attack food stor­age fa­cil­i­ties in Ye­meni port town of al-Hu­day­dah, the Houthi An­sarul­lah Move­ment has warned.

The warn­ing came as the Saudi-led coali­tion this week in­ten­si­fied its mil­i­tary cam­paign to take over the strate­gic port.

Mo­hammed Ali al-Houthi, the chair­man of the Supreme Revo­lu­tion­ary Com­mit­tee of Ye­men, re­vealed in a Twit­ter post on Thurs­day that Riyadh had plans to attack food stor­age fa­cil­i­ties and si­los across Hu­day­dah - which is the main con­duit for food sup­plies into the war-torn coun­try - un­der the false pre­text that they were be­ing used to store weapons.

He also warned that the coali­tion was go­ing to tar­get Hu­day­dah’s pop­u­lated ar­eas with “blind strikes.”

Houthi said the de­ci­sion came amid a me­dia cam­paign by the ag­gres­sors to jus­tify their atroc­i­ties in the city.

The warn­ings fol­lowed the re­sump­tion of re­lent­less at­tacks by Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies, in­clud­ing the United Arab Emi­rates, against Ye­men af­ter UN-bro­kered talks be­tween war­ring par­ties failed in Geneva last week.

The talks were aborted af­ter the UN failed to meet con­di­tions set by Ye­men’s An­sarul­lah move­ment that in­cluded trans­fer­ring Ye­me­nis who had been wounded as a re­sult of the Saudi-led war to hos­pi­tals and also pro­vid­ing guar­an­tees over the safety of the Ye­meni del­e­ga­tion at­tend­ing the talks.

An­sarul­lah also ac­cused Saudi Ara­bia of plan­ning to strand the Ye­meni del­e­ga­tion in Dji­bouti, where their plane was to make a stop en route to Geneva.

On Wed­nes­day night, Saudi-led air­craft ended the truce by bomb­ing Hu­day­dah’s Kilo 16 dis­trict, killing at least 15 peo­ple and in­jur­ing dozens more.

Saudi Ara­bia and its re­gional al­lies launched the dev­as­tat­ing mil­i­tary cam­paign against Ye­men in March 2015, with the aim of re­in­stat­ing for­mer pres­i­dent Abd Rab­buh Mansur Hadi and crush­ing the Houthi move­ment.

Some 15,000 Ye­me­nis have been killed and thou­sands more in­jured since the start of the Saudi-led ag­gres­sion.

More than 2,200 oth­ers have died of cholera, and the cri­sis has trig­gered what the United Na­tions has de­scribed as the world’s worst hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter.

The Saudi-led of­fen­sive to wrest con­trol of Hu­day­dah be­gan in June, with the aim of stop­ping con­tin­ued mis­sile strikes by Ye­men’s army and the Houthis.

De­spite ef­fec­tively putting Hu­day­dah un­der an ex­ten­sive aerial and mar­itime siege, the Saudis in­sist that the only way to stop what they call a flow of arms and mis­sile parts to the group is by tak­ing the whole city un­der con­trol.

How­ever, the of­fen­sive has been far from suc­cess­ful. In fact, the ex­tent of civil­ian ca­su­al­ties has put the coali­tion un­der grow­ing in­ter­na­tional pres­sure to end the on­slaught.

The bat­tle has even prompted re­ac­tions from the US and the UK, who have been pro­vid­ing Riyadh with un­con­di­tional arms and in­tel­li­gence sup­port over the course of the war.

Spain, U.S. Con­firm Sup­port for Riyadh Af­ter Civil­ian Mas­sacres

The Span­ish gov­ern­ment walked back its can­cel­la­tion on Thurs­day of the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Ara­bia, which has been dev­as­tat­ing Ye­men’s in­fra­struc­ture and killing civil­ians in an ef­fort to oust the Houthi gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while, the U.S. af­firmed its sup­port for the Saudi-led coali­tion on Wed­nes­day within hours of a bomb­ing that left more than a dozen dead.

Since Saudi Ara­bia drew in­ter­na­tional out­rage af­ter killing more than 40 chil­dren in a bomb­ing attack on a bus in Ye­men on Au­gust 9, some demon­stra­ble, if small, steps have been taken by a num­ber of gov­ern­ments to weaken the monar­chy’s blows to the war-rav­aged na­tion, which is gripped by one of the worst hu­man­i­tar­ian c atas­tro­phes in mod­ern his­tory.

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