Saudi Planes Bomb Yemen Airport, Blocking Aid Deliveries

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Rebel authorities in Yemen said on Tuesday that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed a navigation station at Sanaa global airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.

"The flights will increase gradually in the coming days", the official said, noting Yemenia would resume its four weekly flights from Aden to Cairo, two to Jeddah and Riyadh, three to Amman and one to Khartoum.

Iran denies arming the Houthis and blames the conflict in Yemen on Riyadh.

After intercepting a Riyadh bound missile last week that was sacked by the Houthi militia, Saudi Arabia tightened their embargo on Yemen, closing all air, land and sea ports with the aim of preventing the smuggling of any weapons into Yemen.

We heard [from the Saudis] that Aden and Mukalla ports are now open - but this is not enough.

The United Nations has warned a total blockade could cause starvation in Yemen, where war has killed at least 10,000 people in the last two and a half years.

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Air traffic in Sanaa's airport is now restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other worldwide organizations.

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, faced widespread global criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of already suffering people closer to "starvation and death".

The United Nations insisted its aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef, saying that more than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 percent of all cholera cases are closest to the two ports.

On Monday, the coalition said it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had raised after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's worldwide airport.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power. The Hodeida port is held by rebels in Yemen.

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said. And landing aid there would also involve having to cross front lines to deliver it.

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