Saudi-backed forces begin assault on Yemen port

Milirary forces backed by Saudi Arabia have begun attacking a key port in Yemen held by rebel fighters.

The coastal city of Hudaydah is where most of the aid arrives for people in Yemen’s rebel-held areas. Agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe.

About eight million people are at risk of starvation in the war-torn country, where strikes began after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels ignored a deadline to withdraw by midnight.

It is the first time the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Gulf states has tried to capture such a well-defended major city in Yemen.

The UN Security Council is expected to meet to discuss the situation on Thursday, following a request from the United Kingdom.

The conflict in Yemen has raged since late 2014, when the rebel umbrella organization Ansar Allah, also known as the Houthis, these revolutionaries refused to participate in a “unity government” and seized north-western parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was chosen as president for a transitional period, in an election in which he was the only candidate, then remained in power after the expiration of his mandate until he was deposed by the Houthis and eventually forced to flee abroad..

Alarmed by the rise of a group they saw as an Iranian proxy, Saudi Arabia and eight other Sunni Arab states launched a military campaign in March 2015 to restore Hadi’s government.

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