Saudi-Led Coalition Storms Yemen's Hodeidah Airport Compound

Losing Hudaida would seriously weaken the Houthis by severing supply lines from the Red Sea to their stronghold in the capital Sanaa

Losing Hudaida would seriously weaken the Houthis by severing supply lines from the Red Sea to their stronghold in the capital Sanaa

The Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March 2015, and has faced criticism for a campaign of airstrikes that has killed civilians and destroyed hospitals and markets.

Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition stormed the airport compound of Yemen's main port city Hudaida on Tuesday after fierce battles with Iran-aligned Houthis fighting to defend their sole port, residents and Yemeni military sources said.

The ambassador explained that Houthis' failure to accept a political solution and repeated refusal to United Nations envoy's proposal to hand over the port left the Arab coalition with no option but to pursue a military solution to protect innocent Yemeni civilians and ensure a safe passage of aid shipments.

Tuesday's assault marked the seventh day since the coalition forces announced their major offensive to capture the port city.

Last week Human Rights Watch called warring parties to create corridors of safe passage for civilians trapped in the city and to facilitate the flow of aid and commercial supplies.

The Houthi movement in Yemen said it had launched a missile targeting a facility of oil firm Aramco in Asir, southern Saudi Arabia.

It lies just eight kilometers (five miles) from the city's port, through which three-quarters of Yemen's imports pass, providing a lifeline for some 22 million people dependent on aid.

Also on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a bus carrying civilians, killing six people on the outskirts of Hodeida, said a senior Houthi-linked health official, Yahia Sharif Eddin.

"We can say that these elements are military-grade materials imported from Iran to the Houthi militias", Talal al-Teneiji, an Emirati Foreign Affairs Ministry official, told The Associated Press.

Griffiths appears to have failed to make a breakthrough. The AP could not immediately reach the Iranian companies for comment, but Iran has mocked previous show-and-tell events by Saudi and American officials.

Tehran has denied the allegation.

Yemeni government spokesman Saleh al-Qutaibi told Anadolu Agency that the army had already captured several positions east of the capital, including the Madfun and Al-Nahdain heights and parts of the Mount Qarn Wadaa region.

Coalition-backed pro-government forces on Wednesday began the largest attack against the Huthi rebels in the past three years in the aim of retaking Hodeida.

He said that this hostile action by the Houthi militia proves the Iranian regime's continued involvement in supporting the armed group in clear and explicit defiance of the United Nations resolutions with the aim of threatening the security of not only Saudi Arabia but also the region and the world.

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