The kingdom, which is currently leading a coalition of Sunni Arab states in bombing Yemen, said it was "immediately" closing off access to all of Yemen's ports after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi capital Riyadh. Within hours of the missile being intercepted, Saudi Arabia launched a series of air strikes on the Yemeni capital Sanaa, targeting the Houthi-controlled presidential palace, the national security headquarters and the interior ministry. "To address vulnerabilities," the coalition said, "... it has been decided to temporarily close all Yemeni ground, air, and sea ports". Yemen's national airline, Yemenia, which is jointly owned by Saudi Arabia, said it would no longer fly out of Aden and Seiyoun, areas in south Yemen that are under the control of the coalition. "The Saudis want to see us out in the streets protesting against the Houthis.
Hundreds of sick and elderly Yemenis "will die within the next week" unless Saudi Arabia lifts its blockade and allows urgently needed medical supplies into the country. Doctors in the capital told Al Jazeera pharmacies across Sanaa that were already struggling with a critical shortage of specialist drugs, would be unable to treat cancer, diabetes and renal failure patients by the start of next week. "We're running dangerously low on medical supplies and won't have anywhere near the necessary vials of pain-relief medication, insulin, and other specialist medicines for our patients," said Abdulrahman al-Ansi, a doctor at Sanaa's al-Mutawkil hospital. Ali, a two-year-old boy with acute lymphocytic leukaemia died last month as a direct result of the absence of cancer medications, he said. "Unless Saudi Arabia eases its restrictions and allows food and medical supplies, I could end up losing all of my cancer patients - even those suffering from diabetes - [a treatable disease] will die.
The Saudi-UAE military alliance fighting in Yemen says it will open humanitarian corridors between two rebel-held areas, the Red Sea city of Hodeidah and the capital Sanaa, to allow life-saving aid to be delivered to millions of starving Yemenis. Turki Al Maliki, a spokesman for the military alliance, said on Monday that "the coalition is working with [UN humanitarian agency] OCHA to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid." There was no immediate reaction from the UN. Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from neighbouring Djibouti, said Monday's announcement "came following a chorus of protests, indignation and impassioned pleas for something to be done. "The details still haven't been released but there is already some sort of agreement between the alliance and the UN to get supplies through, but they're having difficulties because the main roads between the two cities are the site of fighting.