The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has launched a major offensive to recapture the strategic port city of Hodeidah, according to state media in the United Arab Emirates, a partner in the coalition.
Brigadier Ali Al Tunaiji, commander of the Arab Coalition Task Force in Yemen’s Red Sea coast told the UAE official news agency WAM that the military operation is targeting Houthi-controlled areas of the coastal province in order to cut the “supply line” connecting Hodeidah to the capital Sanaa.
It is a “large-scale, multi-pronged operation,” the reports said.
The United Nations has said an assault on the port city could, in the worst scenario, could kill up to 250,000 people. Around 70 percent of humanitarian aid passes through the Red Sea port.
The military offensive in the province started in June but fighting stalled, especially in Hodeidah, as the UN tried to bring warring parties to the negotiating table.
The latest attempt was in Geneva earlier this month but the Houthis didn’t travel as all sides blamed each other for obstructing the peace talks.
The Arab coalition supports several militias in Yemen as well as the national military of the internationally recognized government in the war against the Iranian-backed Houthis.