Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

150 killed in Yemen in past 24 hours

150 killed in Yemen in past 24 hours

After almost four years of conflict between Yemen's Iran-linked Huthis and a pro-government military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the fight this month reached rebel-held Hodeida, home to Yemen's lifeline port.

The Saudi-led coalition, supporting the Yemeni internationally-recognized government in the civil conflict with the Houthis, has agreed to allow the United Nations to evacuate up to 50 injured rebels to neighbouring Oman after the visit of UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the UK Foreign Office said.

During a visit to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi on Monday, Hunt met Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as leaders from the UAE and Yemen.

"In my meetings we have made progress in removing the largest stumbling block to previous proposed rounds of peace talks, and set out a credible path to a de-escalation of military activity", Hunt said following the trip.

The statement also said that Pompeo reiterated during the phone talks US calls for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and for all parties to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict under the UN Special Envoy.

Aid groups fear for the safety of almost 600,000 people living in Hodeidah - and for millions of others dependent on its port for what little food and humanitarian aid trickling into blockaded Yemen.

Hodeida was hit on Monday night by what multiple sources said were two air strikes - the first targeting of the docks since government forces launched a major offensive to retake the port five months ago. They said they would resume operations if they came under attack.

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

Medics in hospitals across Hodeida province reported 111 rebels and 32 loyalist fighters killed overnight, according to a tally by AFP.

The rebels have begun to evacuate their wounded to Sanaa, the capital, which the Huthis seized during a 2014 takeover that included a string of ports on Yemen's coastline.

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

Residents and government military sources have reported rebel snipers stationed on rooftops in civilian streets in eastern Hodeida, a few kilometres from the port on the western edge of the city.

Other residents have said they feared being trapped in the city, where only one major exit route is still open to traffic and the transport of food and aid, on the northern edge of the city.

Tehran denies the accusation.

He was in the region seeking to boost support for United Nations efforts to end the almost four-year conflict in Yemen, and to press the Gulf kingdom over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The UN is pushing for peace talks by the end of the year.

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