U.N. says assault on Yemen's Hodeidah port could cost 250,000 lives

Red Cross pulls foreign staff out of Yemen

The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels on Friday pledged to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers in the country after the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had withdrawn dozens of staff members over security fears.

"During the long study and calculation, we found that as many as 250 000 people lost everything they had - even my life".

Humanitarian agencies working in Yemen remain deeply anxious about the likely impact of a Saudi-led assault, since as many as 600,000 civilians now live in and around Hudaydah, which lies on the country's Red Sea coast.

"The coalition has and will always uphold the highest standards to protect civilians, and provide necessary protection for UN-affiliated organisations as well as INGOs working in humanitarian aid and relief tracks", coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Malki said, in a statement reported by Saudi Press Agency.

"Cutting off imports through Hudaida for any length of time will put Yemen's population at extreme, unjustifiable risk", Grande said. The Foreign Minister said that the Yemeni government was alarmed by Iran's "intervention and its absurd agenda" in the Middle East, as well as Tehran's interference in Yemen's civil war on behalf of the Houthi rebels.

According to figures released by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, more than 600,000 people have been killed or injured in the Saudi war since 2015.

Yemeni military artillery units hit Houthi targets in Sirvah, killing 20 Houthi rebels.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis regarding the army's claims.

Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when the Shia Houthis overran much of the country, including capital Sanaa.

United Nations -backed peace talks between the Houthis and the Yemeni government were last held in Kuwait in August 2016.

The three-year conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 3 million.

The violence has devastated the country's basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the United Nations to describe the situation as "one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times".

The ICRC relocated the majority of its global staff from across Yemen to Djibouti, Marie Claire Feghali of the Red Cross told The Associated Press Friday.

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