The Saudi-led coalition has launched an attack on Yemen's port city Hudaydah, Al Jazeera reported today.
Air strikes began pounding Hudaydah, supporting a ground assault by the Yemeni government led by internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Houthi positions on the outskirts including Seham and Qazabah have been targeted already.
The Yemen National Army's open source network on Telegram began referring to the attack as operation "golden victory".
Early this morning, the Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV channel reported targeting Saudi-led coalition warships in the Red Sea. Two missiles were used to attack the warships, causing damage to them. No other information on casualties was given.
Saudi-led coalition bombing al #Houthi locations on the outskirts of al #Hudaydah (Wadi Seham and Qazabah). Residents are also reporting seeing coalition ships approach #Yemen's west coast near al Darayhimi district, just south of #Hodeidah city. pic.twitter.com/GcBYkWsQys
— Maher Farrukh (@MaherFarrukh) June 13, 2018
The move comes as part of efforts to regain control of Hudaydah, Yemen's most strategic port which serves as much as 80 per cent of aid for Yemenis in addition to its positioning in the Bab Al Mandeb strait, a vital maritime shipping route. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a member of the coalition, set yesterday as a deadline for the Houthis to withdraw from Hudaydah under UN-led negotiations or attack. Negotiations broke down and UN staff evacuated in fear of a lethal attack.
It is estimated that 250,000 lives will be impacted by the attack on Hudaydah, according to the United Nations. Without access to the civilians caught up in the crossfire there will be catastrophic humanitarian and infrastructure impacts, human rights groups have warned.
The Saudi-led coalition continues to accuse the Houthis of using the Hudaydah port to smuggle Iranian weapons, despite the coalition continually monitoring the Bab Al Mandeb strait which leads to the port. There has been no empirical evidence to suggest that the Houthis are receiving arms via the Hudaydah port. UN experts part of the Yemen panel, continue to question the accusation.