Saudi-led air raids target Yemen’s Hodeidah

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A Saudi-led coalition has launched air raids on Yemen‘s Hodeidah, in an apparent resumption of military operations on the strategic Red Sea city after Houthi rebels attacked two Saudi oil tankers and one of the United Arab Emirates‘ (UAE) main airports. 

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said in a series of tweets on Friday that coalition air strikes had targeted a radio station inside the city and a fishing pier.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The latest offensive on the port city of Hodeidah came a day after Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for a drone attack on Abu Dhabi’s international airport.

According to the Al-Masirah television channel, the Sammad-3 drone launched three attacks on the airport.

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Abu Dhabi airport tweeted on Thursday. that there had been an incident involving a supply vehicle but added that operations were not affected.

It was unclear if it was related to the reported drone attack. 

A Houthi military source said the armed drone flew 1,500km before it reached Abu Dhabi’s airport.

General Abdullah al-Jafri, a spokesman for the Houthis, said the drone attack showed the movement was capable of launching attacks against vital civilian infrastructure of the Saudi-Emirati-led military coalition battling the rebels in Yemen

“Our attack on Abu Dhabi airport shows our forces are no paper tiger like our enemies claim,” Jafri told Al-Masirah TV on the phone.

An unidentified UAE official told Reuters news agency that the attack did not occur.

Critical lifeline  

Hodeidah has been under the control of the Houthis since 2014, along with other western-coast ports and much of northern Yemen.

The city’s seaport was responsible for delivering 70 percent of Yemen’s imports – mostly humanitarian aid, food and fuel – pre-2015. Yet the Saudis say that the Houthis, who reportedly generate $30m to $40m a month in revenue from the port, are using it to smuggle in weapons from Iran.

The war in Yemen, the region’s poorest country, started in 2014 after the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels seized control of the capital, Sanaa, and began pushing south towards the country’s third-biggest city Aden.






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Concerned by the rise of the Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states launched a military offensive in 2015 in the form of a massive air campaign aimed at reinstalling the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed and at least 40,000 wounded, mostly from Saudi-led air strikes.

In retaliation, the Houthis have launched dozens of missiles at the kingdom. Saudi authorities say over the past three years 90 ballistic missiles were fired by the rebels.

Multiple rounds of United Nations-brokered peace talks have all failed to achieve any breakthrough.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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