Saudi coalition attacks Yemen rebel supply hub

Fierce fighting has been reported after pro-government forces in Yemen, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive on the rebel-held city of Hudaydah, a key port for aid supplies.

The United Arab Emirates confirmed four of its soldiers had been killed and 22 Houthi rebels reportedly also died.

Fighting raged mainly near the city's airport and the al-Durayhmi area south of the city, media reports say.

The UN Security Council is to hold urgent talks on Yemen on Thursday.

About eight million people are at risk of starvation in the war-torn country and the coastal city is where most aid arrives for people in rebel-held areas.

The Emirati news agency Wam said attacking forces had managed to "liberate areas... in the surroundings of the airport" and captured or killed "dozens" of Iranian-backed Houthis.

It reported the "martyrdom" of the four Emirati soldiers but did not give further details of the fighting.

Medical sources in the region said 22 Houthi fighters had been killed in coalition strikes.

Coalition sources say 18 air strikes were carried out on Houthi positions on the outskirts of Hudaydah on Wednesday.

Houthi rebels, meanwhile, said they had struck a coalition warship with missiles although there was no confirmation of this.

The offensive, which analysts say could be the biggest battle so far in the Yemeni civil war, has raised fears of mass casualties among the city's 400,000 population.
This has a making of a strategic loss for the rebels that could lead to their demise and to the failure of the Iranian attempt to use them to outflank the Saudis.  The Houthis have acted as Iranian proxies in that countries war against the Saudis in much the same way Hezballah is used against the Israelis.  With Trump reimposing sanctions on Iran it will make it harder for Iran to sustain these operations.  That is probably the best way to stop the killing in the area.


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