(News Desk) – Forced backed by the Saudi-led coalition have launched an offensive against Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hudaydah in defiance of warnings by the UN and international rights groups against the catastrophic repercussions of such a military action.
On Wednesday morning, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network announced the beginning of the Hudaydah operation, which the UN has warned could cause up to 250,000 deaths.
The Saudi-led military alliance is providing air cover to the operation.
Meanwhile, Arabic-language al-Masdar News reported heavy Saudi-led airstrikes on Hudaydah as the UAE-backed troops stormed the Houthi positions just south of the city’s airport.
Houthi media activists also reported fierce clashes south of the Hudaydah airport and intense air raids over the entire province.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key member of the Saudi-led coalition waging the war on Yemen, had set a Tuesday deadline for the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah movement to pull out of Hudaydah. The port city serves as the lifeline for aid delivery to the war-stricken country.
“These are the last and final hours to get unconditional guarantees that the Houthis will leave the port,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Reuters on Tuesday.
The Saudi-led coalition claims that the Houthi Ansarullah movement is using Hudaydah for weapons delivery, an allegation rejected by the fighters.
The Houthi movement has pledged strong resistance in the face of the assault, which is said to be the largest of its kind since the onset of the war in early 2015.