UAE-trained ‘Giants’ assault force secures key road into Hodeidah

The coalition is supporting the Yemeni troops on the ground with fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
0

UAE-trained ‘Giants’ assault force secures key road into Hodeidah

  • Military officials said the Houthis had been firing mainly from elevated and rooftop sniper positions
  • Hodeidah, one of the last Houthi strongholds on Yemen’s western coast, was seized by the militia along with the capital Sanaa in 2014.

JEDDAH: Saudi-led coalition forces pounded Iran-backed Houthi militia positions in Hodeidah with airstrikes and a ground assault on Wednesday, and recaptured a major road leading into the city.

UAE-trained assault troops known as the Giants, backed by Apache attack helicopters, secured an urban area along 50th Street, which leads to the city’s key Red Sea port facilities about 5 km away.

Military officials said the Houthis had been firing mainly from elevated and rooftop sniper positions, and had now resorted to burning tires to obscure the line of sight of the helicopter gunships. Most civilians had fled the area, they said.

Dozens of fighters have been killed and hundreds wounded both sides since a renewed coalition offensive on the city began at the end of last week, following calls by the Trump administration for a cease-fire by late November.

The fighting has left bodies lying on the ground and inside burnt-out vehicles at the edge of the city, and several civilians have been killed by shelling in residential areas.

The Saudi-led coalition, which seeks to restore to power the internationally recognized Yemeni government, has been at war with the Houthis since March 2015.

Hodeidah is a key entry point for humanitarian aid to Yemen, but is also the major supply route to the Houthis for Iranian weapons and ammunition, including parts for missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia.


Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

Updated 19 January 2019
0

Houthi militia ‘must respect neutrality of aid workers’

  • The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah
  • Houthis were blamed for an attack on a UN convey on Thursday

 NEW YORK: UN experts monitoring sanctions against Yemen are recommending that the Security Council urge the Houthis to respect the neutrality and independence of humanitarian workers.

The Associated Press has obtained the nine recommendations the panel of experts made in their latest report to the council.

The recommendations came as UN monitors try to strengthen a cease-fire in the port of Hodeidah, key to the delivery of 70 percent of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian aid, and arrange a withdrawal of rival forces from the area agreed to by the government and the Houthis on Dec. 13.

While the agreement in Stockholm was limited, if fully implemented it could offer a potential breakthrough in Yemen’s four-year civil war.

The experts asked the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against Yemen to engage with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s office, Yemen’s government and donors to “enhance” the UN mission inspecting vessels heading to ports in Yemen for illegal arms so it can “identify networks using false documentation to evade inspection.”

They also suggested that Guterres organize a conference with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as well as other “key actors to best manage cash flows and imports of goods,” using the principles of the UN Global Compact on how companies should conduct business.

And the experts recommended that the secretary-general ask the UN inspection mission and monitors at the port of Hodeidah “to share information on potential cases of acts that threaten the peace, stability and security of Yemen,” including violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the UN arms embargo, and obstructions of humanitarian assistance.

The experts also asked the sanctions committee to consider sending three letters. One would be to Abu Al-Abbas, a militia commander in the flashpoint city of Taiz, asking him to transfer artifacts and items from the Taiz National Museum in his custody to Yemen’s government. 

A second would be to alert the International Maritime Organization to “the risks posed by anti-ship cruise missiles and water-borne improvised explosive devices in the Red Sea and to encourage it to discuss these threats with the commercial shipping industry with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”

The third would be to alert the International Civil Aviation Organization of the risks posed by drones and munitions to civil aviation, particularly near busy international airports on the Arabian Peninsula “and encourage it to discuss these threats with airport operators and airlines with the aim of developing suitable precautions and countermeasures.”