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150 killed in battle for Yemen's Hodeida as global alarm grows

17 November 2018

The destruction of the port of Hodeida, a vital lifeline for millions of starving civilians in Yemen, would "create a catastrophic situation", Antonio Guterres told French radio station France Inter.

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. The deal comes just one day after UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on Saudi Arabia to end the Yemen conflict, suggesting that worldwide pressure could help lead to a settlement.

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 United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

The port s deputy director, Yahya Sharafeddine, said the main entrance to the docks had been "the target of air raids" but was fully functioning.

But four other port employees told AFP on condition of anonymity that a rebel commander, along with three of his guards, had been killed in Monday's bombing.

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

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Britain is seeking support among regional partners for new action at the UN Security Council for peace talks in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the Yemeni government's fight against the Huthis in 2015, triggering what the United Nations now calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Britain 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 Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

Saudi-led coalition warplanes had resumed air strikes late on Monday despite a lull in street battles between Iranian-aligned Houthi insurgents and coalition forces which had trapped families and endangered hospitals.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last Friday that Washington would support the Saudi decision to use the Saudi-led coalition's own capabilities to conduct inflight refueling missions in Yemen, indicating that the U.S. side would stop refueling the coalition aircraft.

The coalition has said that wresting control of Hodeidah would break the Houthis by cutting off their main supply line and force the group to the negotiating table to end the conflict, seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Iran.

150 killed in battle for Yemen's Hodeida as global alarm grows