United Nations warns attack on Yemen port threatens innocent civilians

Blanche Robertson
June 13, 2018

In a statement issued on Friday, Grande expressed her concern that "Up to 250,000 people could lose everything, even their lives" as a result of a possible military attack on the coastal city of Hodeidah.

Warring sides in Yemen have increasingly used global aid workers as a "pawn" in the country's three-year civil war, the worldwide Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday after removing 71 employees from the country amid security concerns.

"The coalition has and will always uphold the highest standards to protect civilians, and provide necessary protection for UN-affiliated organisations as well as INGOs working in humanitarian aid and relief tracks", coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al Malki said, in a statement reported by Saudi Press Agency.

The decision comes at a crucial time in the three-year-old war.

The Yemen civil war, now in its fourth year, is a multilayered conflict in which a Saudi-led coalition is battling to defeat a Houthi resistance and restore the UN-recognised government to the capital, Sana'a.

The UN and aid agencies have warned against an offensive on the port, which could plunge Yemen into starvation.

The 71 people withdrawn from Yemen represent more than half of the ICRC's international staff in the country
The 71 people withdrawn from Yemen represent more than half of the ICRC’s international staff in the country

The military artillery had targeted Houthi sites and concentrations throughout southern Serwah, leading to heavy casualties and material losses among the ranks of the rebel group, it added.

There was no immediate comment from the Houthis regarding the army's claims.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies - who accuse the Houthis of serving as Iranian proxies - launched a massive air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Previous efforts to end the conflict, which according to the United Nations has killed more than 10,000 people, have failed.

Those withdrawn from Yemen represent more than half of the ICRC's global staff in the country and one fifth of its total staff, spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali told AFP.

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