The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called for an emergency session as the Saudi-Emirati military assault on the Yemeni port city of Hudaida entered its second day. The closed meeting, requested by the United Kingdom, will take place on Thursday afternoon. It will be the second time the Council convenes this week over the situation in Yemen, which aid groups warn stares at an imminent humanitarian crisis. On Wednesday, the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched an air and ground offensive on Hudaida, Yemen's third largest city, in the biggest battle in the three-year war between the coalition and Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels. The air attacks targeting Houthi positions have been supported by ground operations by foreign and Yemeni troops south of the Red Sea port.
Yemen's Houthi rebels have vowed to fight on after pro-government forces seized Hudaida airport from them on Wednesday, in a major step towards retaking the port city following a week-long battle. Rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi called for reinforcements to repel the advance of the Saudi and UAE-backed government forces, after ongoing fighting left nearly 350 people dead. "We will face all of the incursions on the ground. Our determination will never be dented," he said via the rebels' Al-Masirah news outlet. Saudi-Emirati coalition forces announced the capture of Hudaida airport on Wednesday morning, a day after breaking through the perimeter fence.
Fierce fighting between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and allied Yemeni military forces in the port city of Hudaida shows no sign of slowing down, as the offensive against the Iranian-aligned Houthi militia group enters its second week. Dubbed Operation Golden Victory, it is the biggest battle by the Saudi-led forces in three years, which began pounding Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthi group took over the capital Sanaa and tried to exert their influence in other parts of the country. In addition to the naval shelling from the Red Sea, Saudi Apache helicopters are also directing air attacks on Houthi positions. UAE troops are on the ground, backing Yemen's Amaleqa brigades. According to Yemeni military sources, the death toll so far is up to 216 fighters, including 33 Houthis and 19 soldiers killed in Tuesday's battle.
The battle between a Saudi and Emirati-led coalition and Houthi rebels has entered the main compound of Yemen's Hudaida airport, according to a Yemeni military source and resident. Saudi and UAE backed forces stormed the gates of the airport on Tuesday, according to sources on the ground, while Houthis used tanks, artillery and mortar fire to shell the inside of the airport. "They have stormed the airport," a Yemeni military source told Reuters news agency. The facility was stormed after fierce battles broke out early in the morning between coalition forces and Houthi fighters who hold the main port city of Hudaida. On Monday, Saudi and UAE Apache attack helicopters pounded Houthi positions as civilians fled in search of shelter from the biggest battle of the war in three years.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have launched an assault on Yemen's port city of Hudaida, in the biggest battle of a three-year war between a Saudi-backed coalition and Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels. The air strikes on Wednesday morning targeting Houthi positions are supported by ground operations by Yemeni troops south of the Red Sea port, the internationally recognised Yemeni government-in-exile said in a statement. The exiled government "has exhausted all peaceful and political means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hudaida", it said in a statement. "The liberation of Hudaida port is a turning point in our struggle to recapture Yemen from the militias that hijacked it to serve foreign agendas," the statement added. "The liberation of the port is the start of the fall of the Houthi militia and will secure marine shipping in Bab al-Mandab strait and cut off the hands of Iran, which has long-drowned Yemen in weapons that shed precious Yemeni blood."