Aden airport receives first commercial flight after Yemen blockade

Aden airport receives first commercial flight after Yemen blockade

Saudi Arabia announced Monday that the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen will begin reopening airports and seaports in the Arab world's poorest country, days after closing them over a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh. However, Saudi Arabia demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is being controlled by the rebels.

On Monday, the coalition said it would ease the blockade and allow flights to Aden and open the southern city's port, but it refused to reopen Hodeidah port.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which pits the internationally recognized government, backed by Saudi Arabia and its allies, against the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia's United Nations ambassador said the coalition would take steps to ease the blockade but would not reopen a key rebel-held port to aid shipments unless tighter inspections were put in place.

Air traffic in Sanaa's airport is now restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other worldwide organizations.

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable", Mr. McGoldrick told reporters.

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United Nations aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef because more than two-thirds of the people in need are closest to those ports, he said.

Aden port, which is controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia, does not have the capacity, according to the United Nations, to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo and would mean hazardous cross-line deliveries.

On Monday, the coalition said it would reopen ports in areas held by allied forces and loosen restrictions it had raised after the firing of the missile, which was intercepted near Riyadh's worldwide airport. In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf countries launched airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request.

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said.

The House of Representatives on Monday held its first ever debate over USA military engagement in the civil war raging in Yemen and passed a non-binding resolution calling on parties to wage the conflict humanely and work toward bringing it to an end. And landing aid there would also involve having to cross front lines to deliver it.

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