Hodeidah Gears up for Imminent Assault as Ultimatum for Houthis Expires

Hodeidah Gears up for Imminent Assault as Ultimatum for Houthis Expires

Wednesday, 13 June, 2018 - 05:15
A ship carrying 5,500 tons of flour is docked at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 26, 2017. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
Jeddah - Sanaa - Asma Al-Ghabiri and Asharq Al-Awsat
The strategic port city of Hodeidah is gearing up for an imminent attack by Yemeni forces allied with the Saudi-led coalition after an ultimatum offered by the United Arab Emirates for Houthis to evacuate the city expired on Tuesday night.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash told France’s Le Figaro newspaper on Tuesday, “We gave UN special envoy Martin Griffiths 48 hours to convince the Houthis to withdraw from the port and city of Hodeidah. We are awaiting his response. These 48 hours expire during the night of Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Military sources asserted that joint forces received reinforcements and military supplies and they increased their readiness in preparation for the battle to liberate Hodeidah.

Another source from the military media of Yemen's National Resistance Forces said: “On Tuesday morning, large forces have arrived to the areas of Al-Jah in the directorate of Bayt al-Faqih and to Al-Taif in the directorate of Drehami” to reinforce troops.

Sources said Yemeni forces would respect a military tactic in Hodeidah to prevent attacks on civilians and infrastructure. “The forces plan to liberate the city by leaving the least damage in the ranks of civilians,” they said.

Also, local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that hundreds of Hodeidah residents left their homes, heading towards the northern and eastern countryside of the port city. “Residents fear that Houthi militias would use them as human shields,” the sources said, adding that many residents had started securing their necessities.

“The international community must pressure the Houthis to evacuate Hodeidah and leave the port intact," Gargash said on Twitter.

Reuters reported that the United Nations relocated foreign staff members from the city on Monday.

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