• Friday, Feb 03, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

UN envoy due in Yemen as strains escalate with Houthi missile launch

  • Published at 03:34 pm June 25th, 2018
2018-06-25_YEMEN-SECURITY
A man stands next to cars damaged by an air strike in Amran, Yemen June 25, 2018 Reuters

Saudi air defence forces intercepted two rockets over Riyadh late on Sunday, sending debris measuring up to several metres hurtling towards residential areas

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement fired missiles at the Saudi capital Riyadh late on Sunday, escalating tensions ahead of a visit by the UN envoy to Yemen this week to try to avert a military assault on the country's main port city.

A Houthi spokesman has threatened more attacks in response to the offensive launched by a Saudi-led coalition on June 12 to seize control of Hodeidah port, long a key target, in an attempt to weaken the Houthis by cutting their main supply line.

The United Nations fears that an assault on the Red Sea port, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, could trigger a famine imperilling millions of lives.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths is due in the southern city of Aden on Wednesday for talks with ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in the exiled government's temporary capital, government officials said.

One official said Griffiths would be there only for a few hours for talks focused on averting an assault on the port.

"There is a proposal on the table," the foreign minister of Hadi's government, Khaled al-Yamani, told reporters in Riyadh.

"We would accept a peace initiative on the condition that militias leave the western coast," he said at a joint press conference to announce a $40 million project launched by Saudi Arabia for de-mining operations in Yemen.

The Houthis have indicated they would be willing to hand over management of the port to the United Nations, sources told Reuters. A US official said Washington was urging the Saudis and Emiratis to accept the deal.

The Hodeidah offensive could have ramifications further afield due to Yemen's role in a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Muslim Iran that has fuelled instability across the Middle East.

The coalition said on Monday that eight members of Lebanon's Shia Hezbollah group had been killed in battles in the mountainous Saada region in Yemen's northwest, which is held by the Houthis along with the capital Sanaa.

Hezbollah officials could not be immediately reached for comment, but the group has previously denied Saudi accusations that it is helping Houthi rebels.

Missiles over Riyadh

Saudi air defence forces intercepted two rockets over Riyadh late on Sunday, sending debris measuring up to several metres hurtling towards residential areas.

Pieces fell near the US mission in the Saudi capital and at a school in the diplomatic quarter. Debris sparked a fire at a construction site 10km further south and fell on the roof of a private residence, but Saudi officials said there were no casualties.

"Our rockets will reach places that the enemy will not expect," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said. "The longer the aggression and war continue, the greater our ballistic missile capabilities."

Coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said the alliance's advances on Hodeidah and other fronts were pushing the Houthis to try to project strength through such attacks.

Coalition-backed forces seized Hodeidah airport last week and have been consolidating their hold in the area as more Houthi fighters, many armed with Ak-47 assault rifles, were deployed in the city and around the port.

The United Nations fears heavy fighting will worsen what is already the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis, with 22 million Yemenis dependent on aid and an estimated 8.4 million believed to be on the verge of starvation.

The Arab states say they must recapture Hodeidah to deprive the Houthis of their main source of income and prevent them from smuggling in Iranian-made missiles, accusations denied by the group and Tehran.

The coalition has pledged a swift military operation to take over the airport and seaport without entering the city centre, to minimise civilian casualties and maintain the flow of goods. 

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail