The Saudi-led coalition in the war over Yemen has attacked Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah. It is the biggest battle of a three-year war between an alliance of Arab states and the Iran-aligned Houthis, which have held Hodeidah since 2015.
The operation began after the passing of a deadline set by the UAE for the Houthis, who hold the capital Sanaa and the main populated areas of Yemen, to leave Hodeidah, the only port the rebels control.
Hodeidah handles 80% of essential goods to Yemen. Houthi leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi warned the Western-backed alliance not to attack the port. He has threatened attacks on oil tankers along the Red Sea shipping lane and said on Twitter that his forces had targeted a coalition barge. Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said two missiles struck the barge, but there was no immediate confirmation from the coalition whether this was the case.
The Saudi-led coalition have claimed that the Houthis have used the port to smuggle in Iranian-made weapons, including missiles that have targeted Saudi cities. The accusations have been denied by the group and by Iran.