Rescue op hit, plane can’t land in Sana’a
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
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Boys sit atop a vehicle as their family flees Sana’a, fearing renewed air strikes on Yemen’s capital.