Res­cue op hit, plane can’t land in Sana’a

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Harinder Baweja [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Ef­forts to evac­u­ate In­di­ans out of war-torn Ye­men suf­fered a set­back with Saudi Ara­bia re­fus­ing per­mis­sion to land air­craft in Sanaa, say­ing it needed time to se­cure the skies from the mis­sile stock­pile of the Houthi rebels. Saudi Ara­bia is lead­ing a coali­tion of mainly Sunni Arab al­lies that has been car­ry­ing out air strikes to halt the ad­vances of the Shia rebels who now con­trol most of Ye­men.

“The skies are not safe. Saudi Ara­bia has con­veyed that it needs to neu­tralise the Car­touche mis­siles avail­able with the Houthi rebels,’’ a min­istry of ex­ter­nal af­fairs told HT Thurs­day. The mis­siles have a range of 200km

Of the 4,000- odd In­di­ans stranded in Ye­men, 3,100 are in the cap­i­tal Sanaa. A group of 349 reached In­dia Thurs­day af­ter they were res­cued from the port city of Aden.

The gov­ern­ment was work­ing on a plan to es­cort In­di­ans in batches and then move them in con­voys from Sanaa to the Red Sea port of Hodei­dah but the 250km and seven-hour jour­ney is fraught with risks. The rebels are in con­trol of both the cities.

“We have put this plan on hold for the mo­ment as we need to hire pri­vate se­cu­rity,’’ a se­nior MEA of­fi­cial said. “We are con­cerned about the safety of our na­tion­als but the sit­u­a­tion is chang­ing ev­ery two hours.”

CON­TIN­UED ON P8

RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P2 P11 & P14

REUTERS PHOTO

Boys sit atop a ve­hi­cle as their fam­ily flees Sana’a, fear­ing re­newed air strikes on Ye­men’s cap­i­tal.

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