Saudis urge UN action against Al Houthis

Offer evidence showing militia’s involvement in deadly attack on Hodeida hospital

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has urged the UN Security Council to take immediate action against Yemen’s Al Houthis over the Iran-allied militia’s involvement in a deadly attack against a hospital in the western city of Hodeida.

The kingdom sent through its ambassador to the UN, Abdallah Al Mouallimi, evidence showing that Al Houthis had hit the hospital and other civil sites with mortar shells, Al Arabiya reported on Saturday.

In its letter to the international body, Saudi Arabia demanded “immediate measures” to disarm Al Houthis and implement relevant UN resolutions, according to the report.

At least 55 civilians were killed and 170 injured in Thursday’s attack, according to the Red Cross.

A spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting Al Houthis, accused the Iran-aligned extremists of having fired mortar shells at the hospital and a fish market in Hodeida.

Colonel Turki Al Maliki denied claims by Al Houthis that the coalition was involved in the attack.

“The coalition fighter jets did not launch any air strikes in the city,” Al Maliki added at a press conference in Riyadh on Friday.

In June, Yemeni government forces, supported by the coalition, unleashed a major offensive to expel Al Houthis from Hodeida and its crucial port. The coalition has repeatedly accused Al Houthis of using civilians in the Red Sea city as human shields.

Hodeida is strategically important because of its harbour, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, as most of the commercial imports and relief supplies enter through it to the country.

The coalition accuses Al Houthis of taking advantage of their control of the harbour to obtain weapons from their Iranian patrons as well as confiscate aid intended for Yemenis in order to sustain their war efforts.

The battle for Hodeida, controlled by Al Houthis since late 2014, is the biggest in Yemen’s war.

In September 2014, Al Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sana’a in a coup against the internationally recognised government.

In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition initiated a campaign in Yemen against Al Houthis after the militiamen advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the country after their takeover of Sana’a.

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