Arab Coalition official: Al Houthis dealt ‘painful’ blows in Hodeida and Saada
Cairo: Retaking Yemen’s coastal city of Hodeida from the Iran-allied Al Houthi militants is necessary to rein in Tehran’s intervention and facilitate aid delivery to Yemenis, an official in the Arab Coalition fighting the militants said Monday evening.
Yemeni government forces, supported by the Saudi-led alliance, unleashed last week a massive offensive aimed at expelling Al Houthis from the Red Sea city of Hodeida and its vital harbour in western Yemen.
The alliance accuses the militants of taking advantage of their control of Hodeida to obtain smuggled weapons from their Iranian patrons and seize revenue from traffic at the harbour. Most of Yemen’s imports and humanitarian supplies come through the port.
“The liberation of Hodeida will cut off the Iranian hands by halting the smuggling of Iranian weapons to Al Houthis and will also help in the delivery of aid,” spokesman for the Arab Coalition Turki Al Malaki added at a press conference in the capital Riyadh.
The official said that the government forces are poised to take complete control of the Hodeida airport, located around 10 kilometres from the Harbour.
Al Malaki added that the militants’ cross-the-border threats against Saudi Arabia have significantly decreased as a result of the “painful blows” dealt by coalition forces to Al Houthis in Hodeida and the northern province of Saada. The latter is Al Houthis’ stronghold in northern Yemen.