Saudi-led airstrikes kill 15 civilians in Yemen
Situation in Yemen’s Hudaydah ‘alarming’, aid at risk: UN
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.