Arab forces seize entrance to airport in Yemen's main port city

Yemeni children receive food aid in the coastal city of Hodeida

Image Yemeni children receive food aid in the coastal city of Hodeida

"The fighting is getting close to the al-Manzar area near the airport and people are fleeing in fear", said Mohammed Abdullah, who works for the city's Houthi administration.

This screenshot taken from video shows Yemeni pro-government forces to the south of Hudaida airport, Hudaida, Yemen, June 15, 2018. Houthi forces had entered homes overlooking the main road to go onto the roofs.

State-run Saba news agency said the aim of Hadi's first public visit to the country in more than a year was to "supervise" the military operations in Hodeida province.

The Saudi-led coalition began its assault Wednesday on Hodeida, the main entry for food into a country already on the brink of starvation.

Who are the Yemeni ground forces fighting in Hodeidah?

In a series of tweets, Dr Gargash pointed out that the Houthis had refused for three years to seriously engage in peace talks.

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"People in the governorate have reported heavy airstrikes along coastal areas and roads in districts south of Hodeida", the council said.

Prince Salman has been sharply criticised for the decision to embark on the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, devastated the country's infrastructure, and led to one of the world's worst cholera outbreaks in 50 years.

"This deadlock must end".

Depriving the Houthis of their control of Hodeida port, at the Yemeni government's request, means that the Houthis will no longer be able to impose their will at the barrel of a gun.

Ms Nusseibeh would not speculate on the duration of the operation against the Houthis in Hodeida.

The army report said it was a pinpoint attack on the Saudi-backed armed men. Even though the death toll could not be ascertained, the United Nations said last week that in a worst-case scenario as many as 2,50,000 people could be killed in the offensive.

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The UN has warned against an offensive on Hodeidah because the port serves as the entry point for 70 percent of Yemen's imports, with the country already teetering on the brink of starvation after three years of war.

"They were united in their deep concern about the risks to the humanitarian situation and reiterated their call for the ports of Hodeidah and Salif to be kept open", Nebenzia told reporters.

The UAE Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Lana Nusseibeh said the offensive was a "deliberate, carefully prepared and executed operation" and that coalition forces, under the direction of the Yemeni government, would advance in a "a calibrated, gradual" way. The UAE official said the operation was part of an effort to break the military stalemate between the coalition and the Houthis, who the USA and the coalition view as being armed and backed by Iran.

Amb Nusseibah hosts a press briefing with UN-based corespondents on the situation in Yemen featuring H.E Khalid Al Yamani, Yemen's FM, H.E Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of state for Int'l Cooperation @MOFAUAE & @amouallimi Saudi Arabia's PR to UN. "We live days of terror that we have never known before".

She described the assault as a "deliberate, carefully prepared and executed operation" and said the coalition's advancing forces would move in a "calibrated, gradual way, and that every step along the way the Houthis will be given opportunities to retreat, to disarm and to come back to the negotiation process".

"The coalition and Houthi forces, now fighting for Hodeida, have atrocious records abiding by the laws of war", said HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson.

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"Many warplanes were flying low over the city during the prayers", one resident of the heavily defended city said. "To the contrary, we have allowed them safe passage to the north of the city if they want to drop their arms and leave".

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