Ye­men Forces Launch As­sault on Rebel-held Port City

THISDAY - - MARKET NEWS -

Ye­meni forces backed by a Saudi-led coali­tion launched an of­fen­sive Wed­nes­day to re­take the rebel-held port city of Hodeida, a key aid hub, spark­ing calls from the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for re­straint, ac­cord­ing to Agence France-Presse.

Pro-gov­ern­ment troops be­gan the as­sault de­spite mount­ing in­ter­na­tional fears about the hu­man­i­tar­ian fall­out, press­ing to­ward Hodeida air­port south of the city af­ter re­ceiv­ing a “green light” from the coali­tion.

By Wed­nes­day night, the of­fen­sive re­mained on the out­skirts of the rebel-held air­port.

The Red Sea port, con­trolled by the Iran-backed Huthi rebels who hail from north­ern Ye­men, serves as the en­try point for 70 per­cent of the im­pov­er­ished coun­try’s im­ports as it teeters on the brink of famine.

Bri­tain re­quested an ur­gent meet­ing of the United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil over the of­fen­sive, and the top UN body is ex­pected to hold talks on Thurs­day.

The re­quest came af­ter the UN en­voy for Ye­men, Martin Grif­fiths, said he was still hold­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on keep­ing the key port open to aid de­liv­er­ies.”We are in con­stant con­tact with all the par­ties in­volved to ne­go­ti­ate ar­range­ments for Hodeida that would ad­dress po­lit­i­cal, hu­man­i­tar­ian, se­cu­rity con­cerns of all con­cerned par­ties,” he said.

The Euro­pean Union’s for­eign pol­icy chief warned of the “dev­as­tat­ing” im­pact the as­sault would have.

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