Port Still Running In Yemen's Hodeida After Air Strikes

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels

The World Health Organisation estimates almost 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war since 2015.

In a statement sent via the Telegram messaging app, the Houthis said they had "lured" loyalists up the western coastline of Hodeida, where the rebels then launched an attack on the troops.

The Huthi rebels, who seized the Red Sea city in 2014, have claimed the mining of areas across Hodeida province, airing footage late Tuesday of what they said were landmine explosions targeting pro-government forces.

The UK and the United States are major suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition backing the Yemen government in its fight against Houthi rebels.

The main gate "was the target of air strikes... but the port is operating normally", the port's deputy director Yehya Sharafeddin told AFP by telephone.

Asked by AFP, coalition spokesman Saudi Colonel Turki al-Maliki said he was going to check.

In a Friday statement, Yemen's internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden said its forces are advancing toward the north and west of Hodeida and across all fronts with cover from the coalition.

Three security guards were wounded in the attack, he said.

Rebel-controlled media reported two air strikes but made no mention of casualties.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the destruction of the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians, could trigger a "catastrophic" situation.

Aid groups have urged both parties in the conflict to keep roads open to allow civilians to escape and the transportation of aid through the Hodeida port.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday said his country had halted its controversial aerial refuelling support for coalition aircraft involved in the war.

There have been global outrage over the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican politicians had threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refuelling operations.

The alliance accuses Iran of smuggling arms to the Houthis through Hodeida Port. Tehran denies the charges.

United Nations mediator Martin Griffiths - whose efforts to host negotiations in Geneva in September failed - met with Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani in Riyadh on Monday for talks on reviving the peace process, Saudi Arabia s state news agency reported.

The United States, Britain and France - three of the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia - have also called for an end to almost four years of conflict, particularly in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate could vote before the end of the year on a resolution seeking to cut off all assistance to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen.



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