Saudi-led coali­tion bombs run­way in Ye­men cap­i­tal

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Ahmed Al-haj The Associated Press

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.

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