The Latest: UN calls for aid to be allowed into Yemen
CAIRO (AP) — The Latest on developments in Yemen (all times local):
The United Nations is demanding that the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels allow humanitarian aid into Yemen through all ports and airports.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric warned that “any further shocks to imports of food and fuel may reverse recent success in mitigating the threat of famine.”
The Saudi-led coalition has ordered the closure of all ports and grounded all humanitarian flights to war-torn Yemen.
The United Nations urges the rival parties in the three-year Yemen conflict “not to escalate the situation further” and to take precautions to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure, Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday.
“All parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate safe, rapid, unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need, through all ports and airports,” he said.
Dujarric said the U.N. is also calling on all countries with influence over the parties to ensure their respect for international humanitarian law — and to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is urging the U.N. Security Council to hold Iran accountable for providing a missile used by Yemen’s Houthi Shiite rebels against Saudi Arabia in July.
Nikki Haley said in a statement Tuesday that another Houthi-launched missile, which Saudi Arabia intercepted and shot down over its capital, Riyadh, on Saturday, may also have been Iranian.
Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.
By providing these missiles to the Houthi militias, Haley said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard “is violating two U.N. resolutions simultaneously.”
“We encourage the release of any information that will help to hold Iran accountable for its support of violence and terrorism in the region and the world,” she said.
Haley said “the United States is committed to containing Iran’s destabilizing actions and will not turn a blind eye to these serious violations of international law by the Iranian regime.”
Yemeni officials say air raids suspected to have been launched by the Saudi-led coalition fighting the country’s Shiite rebels have killed at least 23 people in the rebel-controlled northern province of Hajjah.
Security and tribal officials say the Tuesday raids targeted the homes of local sheikhs where the head of the Houthi rebels’ Supreme Political Council, Saleh al-Sammad, was visiting, and the dead included women and children.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation with reporters.
Saudi media reported that al-Sammad was killed in the airstrike. However the Houthi spokesman, Mohamed Abdel Salam, denied such reports.
Iranian media says the government’s press supervisory board has put hard-line newspaper Kayhan on notice after it ran a headline saying Dubai was the “next target” for Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
The front-page headline ran Monday, and came after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile that was intercepted near the Saudi capital. Iran supports the Houthis but denies arming them.
The semi-official ISNA news agency reported the supervisory board’s action. It said the auditors felt the headline was contrary to Iran’s interests and national security.
A Saudi-led military coalition went to war with the Houthis in March 2015, after the rebels seized the capital, Sanaa. Saudi Arabia and Iran, bitter regional rivals, also back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince says a ballistic missile launched at the kingdom by Shiite rebels in Yemen last weekend was a “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war.”
The state-run Saudi Press Agency carried the remarks Tuesday in an article about a call between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile that the Houthi rebels and their allies fired toward Riyadh’s international airport on Saturday night. Iran, which supports the Houthis but denies arming them, says it had nothing to do with the attack.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the rebels since March 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Saudi Arabia has intensified its blockade on Yemen over the launch, cutting off all traffic to Yemen’s air and sea ports and closing land crossings
A United Nations official says all of its humanitarian flights to Yemen have been grounded after flights were no longer given clearance from the Saudi-led coalition to land in the country.
Doctors Without Borders said on Tuesday its flight from Djibouti to the Yemeni capital Sanaa has also been canceled for the same reason.
The coalition ordered all ports — air, land and sea — closed after Shiite rebel Houthis fired a ballistic missile at the Riyadh airport. The Saudis have accused Iran of arming the Houthis and considered the assault an “act of war.”
The official said on Tuesday that the U.N. is “in touch at the highest level to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” She spoke on condition of anonymity because she wasn’t authorized to speak to the press.
Yemen has been already under a blockade since March 2015, when the coalition waged a war on Houthis. The latest measures have tightened the blockade which contributed to Yemen’s crisis, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
— By Maggie Michael
A Houthi-linked army spokesman in the Yemeni capital has threatened escalation against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, saying the rebels consider the two countries’ airports “legitimate targets.”
Col. Aziz Rashed told reporters late Monday in Sanaa that his military experts are able to develop missiles with ranges that exceed 1500 kilometers.
The threat comes as part of the mutual escalation between Yemen’s Houthi rebels, in control of the northern part of the country, and the oil-rich gulf neighbors who went to war against them after rebels forced internationally-recognized government to flee the country in 2015.
Rashed says: “We urge all airline companies and travelers to avoid airports in both Saudi and UAE as we consider them a legitimate military targets within the range of our ballistic missiles.”