SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 2 December 2022, Friday |

Yemen’s Houthi militia allow temporary resumption of UN flights into Sanaa

After a week halt due to Saudi-led coalition air strikes, Yemen’s Houthi militia said on Tuesday they have allowed the temporary resumption of UN aid flights into the capital Sanaa.
“The civil aviation authority announces the resumption of UN and other organization flights into Sanaa airport on a temporary basis,” the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television reported.
“The (rebel administration’s) foreign ministry was contacted to notify the UN and all international organizations that Sanaa airport was ready to receive flights.”
Yemen has been wracked by civil war since 2014 pitting the government — supported by the Saudi-led coalition — against the Iran-backed Houthis who control much of the north.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed, in what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Flights into the Houthi-held capital have been largely halted by a Saudi-led blockade since August 2016, but there have been exemptions for aid flights that are a key lifeline for the population.
The Houthi militia had said UN aid flights into Sanaa had been halted by Saudi-led air strikes last week but the coalition said the airport had already been closed two days earlier and blamed the insurgents.
Coalition spokesman Turki Al-Maliki said Sunday the Houthis were “militarizing” Sanaa airport and using it as a “main center for launching ballistic missiles and drones” toward the kingdom.
He also accused Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group of helping the Houthis launch missiles and drones at Saudi Arabia, where two people were killed last week.
On Saturday, the coalition launched what it called a “large-scale” military operation against the Houthis after the fatal attack.
The coalition raids killed three civilians, including a child and a woman, Yemeni medics said.
The coalition maintains its operations are carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law and has repeatedly accused the Houthis of using civilians as human shields.
Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with sophisticated weapons and its Hezbollah proxy of training the insurgents.
Tehran denies the charges, while Hezbollah on Monday dismissed Saudi charges as “ridiculous.”
The US Navy said last week it seized 1,400 AK-47 rifles and ammunition from a fishing boat it claimed was smuggling weapons from Iran to the Houthis,
The Houthis on Tuesday accused the coalition of preventing the entry of “communication and navigation devices … into Sanaa airport to replace the old ones.”
“The UN and international organizations have been informed that the long-term operation of these devices are not guaranteed, given how old they are,” they added.
The militants also warned they will “hold the UN and international organizations responsible for landing and takeoff operations in the event of a sudden device failure.”
The Iran-backed militia have repeatedly launched missile and drone strikes against neighboring Saudi Arabia, targeting the kingdom’s airports and oil infrastructure.
While the UN and US are pushing for an end to the war, the Houthis have demanded an end to the coalition blockade of Sanaa airport before any cease-fire or negotiations.
The UN estimates Yemen’s war will have claimed 377,000 lives by the end of the year through both direct and indirect impacts.
More than 80 percent of Yemen’s population of about 30 million is dependent on humanitarian aid.