Arab States Launch Attack On Major Yemen Port

The Saudi-Arabian-backed force aims to rid the region of rebel group Houthi.

What you need to know
  • A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen’s main port city
  • The port is the main access point for aid
  • UNHCR estimates 22.2 million people need humanitarian assistance in the region

ADEN (Reuters) -- A Saudi-led alliance of Arab states launched an attack on Yemen’s main port city on Wednesday in the largest battle of the war, aiming to bring the ruling Houthi movement to its knees at the risk of worsening the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.

Arab warplanes and warships pounded Houthi fortifications to support ground operations by foreign and Yemeni troops massed south of the port of Hodeidah in operation “Golden Victory”.

Fighting raged near Hodeidah airport and al-Durayhmi, a rural area 10 km (6 miles) south of the city, media controlled by the Arab states and their Yemeni allies reported.

The assault marks the first time the Arab states have tried to capture such a heavily-defended major city since joining the war three years ago against the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa and most of the populated areas.

Yemen is suffering a humanitarian crisis that eclipses even Syria’s. The United Nations says 22 million Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid, with 8.4 million on the verge of famine - a figure that could rise to 10 million by the end of this year, For most the port is the only route for food supplies.

Despite the fighting, the U.N. kept up its aid supplies. “We are there and delivering, we are not leaving Hodeidah,” Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said.