Saudi-led coalition bombs runway in Yemen capital
SANAA, Yemen — The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels bombed the airport in the rebel-held capital of Sanaa on Tuesday, Yemeni officials said, though there were conflicting reports as to the extent of the damage.
The United Nations said most of the airport remained intact and that it would be able to receive aid shipments once the coalition follows through on its announced loosening of the blockade of the war-torn country.
But Yemeni officials in Sanaa, which is held by the rebels known as Houthis, said the airport’s runway and a ground navigation tower were damaged. Repair crews were already at work, they added, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Jamie Mcgoldrick, of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said U.N. staff had visited the airport and spoken with authorities there, and that its “runway, taxiway, ramp, terminal and air traffic control tower were not hit and are in good condition.”
“This will have no impact on our operations once they resume,” Mcgoldrick said in an email from Amman, Jordan.
The U.s.-backed coalition has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015. The coalition closed all air, land and sea ports last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on the Saudia Arabia capital of Riyadh.
The coalition said Monday that it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had tightened after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh’s international airport.
However, Mcgoldrick said earlier in the day that there was “no indication” the coalition was actually lifting the blockade in line with its announcement.