Saudi-led coalition blames Houthi rebels for Yemen port deaths

A spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen has blamed rebels for Thursday's attacks that killed dozens of civilians in the contested port city of Al Hudaydah, Sputnik reported.

At least 20 civilians were reportedly killed and dozens more hurt in Saudi air strikes. The Yemeni Red Cross said they were sending medical aid to the area after the vicinity of a local hospital was targeted.

According to the pro-Houthi Al Masirah broadcaster, more than 20 bodies of victims were transported to a military hospital. A spokesperson for the Houthi Healthcare Ministry said that the airstrike targeted ambulance cars at the entrance of the hospital.

"Coalition did not carry out any operations in Hodeidah today. The Houthi militia are behind killing of civilians in Hodeidah," Col. Turki Malki told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya channel.
On June 13, the Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, launched an offensive to seize the port of Al Hudaydah from Houthi rebels. The operation continues despite the UN warnings of a possible humanitarian catastrophe. The UN has estimated that 330,610 people fled the city from June 1 to July 24.

Yemen has been engulfed in an armed conflict between the government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement for several years. The Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf nations has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015.