Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Yemen: '300000 kids at risk' as all out bombardment launched on port

Yemen: '300000 kids at risk' as all out bombardment launched on port

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen's port city of Hudaida Wednesday, killing more than 250 Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates forces, with vital guidance and supplies provided by the United States, has launched the largest assault of Yemen's war, with an attack on the massive port city of Hodeidah.

About eight million people are at risk of starvation in the war-torn country and the coastal city is where most aid arrives for people in rebel-held areas. That has raised warnings from aid agencies that Yemen's humanitarian disaster could deepen.

Social media users shared video of what appeared to be a convoy of vehicles approaching the crucial port city early Wednesday morning.

Sudanese forces fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen gather near the outskirts of the western port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, June 12, 2018.

Jolien Veldwijk, the acting country director for CARE International, called the attack "catastrophic, hopeless and devastating". "We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong".

The initial battle plan appeared to involve a pincer movement.

The internationally-recognised exiled government said: "We have exhausted all peaceful and political means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hodeidah".

According to medical sources in the province, 22 Houthi fighters were killed by coalition raids, while three pro-government fighters were killed in a rebel ambush south of Hodeidah.

Hodeidah is the lifeline for most of Yemen's population, who live in Houthi territory.

"As with all other coalition offensives in the civil war, the coalition would not be able to mount the Hodeidah offensive without U.S. refueling and intelligence support", Kate Kizer, the policy director for Win Without War, a coalition of anti-war activist groups, told Al-Monitor.

It said the landing was being attempted in support of the coalition offensive to capture the port city of Al-Hudadayah.

He added that Saudi-led helicopters rushed to save the forces aboard the vessel, which is now burning near Yemen's coastline.

The siege of Hodeidah, a city of 600,000 people, may well eclipse even those United States war crimes.

Coalition warplanes and warships later began bombarding Houthi positions.

The United Nations and other aid groups had pulled their global staff from Hodeida ahead of the rumored assault.

The port has remained open, however.

"The @WSJ reports the Trump Administration is supporting the brazen UAE military offensive on Hodeidah in Yemen", Lieu tweeted after the hearing.

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi has warned the group will attack oil tankers in the event of an assault on Hodeidah.

How serious is the humanitarian crisis?

The UN Security Council is due to meet behind closed doors on Thursday - at the request of Britain - over the attack on Hodeida, diplomats said.

The UN human rights office OHCHR estimates that at least 6,439 civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 injured since Saudi-backed forces began air strikes in Yemen in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has been criticized for its airstrikes killing civilians.

The Houthis said they had a repelled a sea landing near the port by forces from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Yemen relies on imports for 90 percent of its food and 70 percent of those transit through Hodeidah, Lowcock said. The sound of heavy, sustained gunfire clearly could be heard in the background. "We are also deeply concerned that these operations jeopardize prospects for a near-term political resolution to the conflict". "Some workers have left to their villages for fear of the war", said Mohammed, a Hodeida resident who gave only his first name for fear of reprisals.

The U.N. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Wednesday for all sides in Yemen's war to protect civilians.

While the Trump administration is portraying the USA president's Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un as a de-escalation of global tensions, the predatory face of United States imperialism finds its naked expression in Yemen, where the White House and the Pentagon are prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions in pursuit of hegemony against its regional and global rivals.

"Humanitarian aid and relief operations feature as top priorities for the Arab Coalition countries", he noted.

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