Yemen war: Saudi-backed forces begin assault on Hudaydah port

yemen

Pro-government forces in Yemen, backed by Saudi Arabia, have begun attacking a key port 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.

Pro-government strikes began after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels ignored a deadline to withdraw by midnight (21:00 GMT on Tuesday). 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 conflict has raged since late 2014, when the Houthis and allied forces seized north-western parts of the country, including the capital Sanaa, and eventually forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi 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 Mr Hadi’s government.