Monday, February 26, 2024

Yemen aid flights suspended following airport bombing

The Saudi-led coalition has carried out air strikes on the international airport of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. An official has confirmed UN aid flights has been halted.

The air raids came after the coalition urged civilians and United Nations agencies to evacuate immediately.

The coalition said in a statement it had lifted the protection off specific sites in the airport and carried out attacks on “legitimate military targets” there.

“The operation comes in response to threats and the use of the airport’s facilities to launch cross-border attacks,” it added.

A spokesperson for the UN’s World Food Programme stated a UN team was on the ground at the airport to verify the extent of any damage.

Houthi-run Saba media, quoting the head of the Houthi administration’s aviation authority, said the airport had been put out of operation.

An airport official cited by the AFP news agency noted UN aid flights had been halted.

“The airport is no longer able to receive aircraft operated by the United Nations or international humanitarian organisations,” the official told AFP.

The raids hit six sites, coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Malki stated, including places used for launching attacks by drones, training drone personnel, housing trainers and trainees, and storing drones.

“Destroying these targets will not have any effect on the operational capacity of the airport, and will not affect managing the airspace, the air traffic, and ground handling operations,” he added.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against the Arab world’s most impoverished nation in March 2015. The war has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to Riyadh’s favorite officials.

The death toll of the war, now in its seventh year, will reach an estimated 377,000 by the end of 2021, according to a recent report from the UN’s Development Programme.

The fighting has seen some 80 percent of the population, or 24 million people, relying on aid and assistance, including 14.3 million who are in acute need.

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