Saudi airstrikes hit airport near Sanaa amid calls for peace | News | DW | 02.11.2018

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Saudi airstrikes hit airport near Sanaa amid calls for peace

A day after Yemen's Saudi-backed government offered to restart peace talks with Houthi rebels, Saudi-led airstrikes pummeled an airport in Sanaa. International appeals for a ceasefire have had no effect on the war.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen attacked Sanaa International Airport and an adjoining air base being used by Houthi insurgents, the coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki told Saudi state-run Ekhbariya TV on Friday.

"This operation includes targeting of ballistic-missile launch and storage locations... bomb-making and assembly workshops and their support locations in al-Dulaimi air base in Sanaa," al-Malki said.

He said the airport was still open to air traffic from the United Nations and other relief agencies.

The coalition had also massed thousands of troops near the port of Hodeidah, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, on Wednesday, local media reported. According to residents and military sources, fighting broke out there on Friday.

The bombing in the rebel-held Sanaa came a day after the Saudi-backed government offered to restart peace talks with the insurgents.

The UN aims to relaunch talks

On Wednesday, the United Nations said that it aims to relaunch the talks "within a month." Sweden has offered to host such talks.

The United States also called for an end to the three-and-a-half-year war that has driven impoverished Yemen to the verge of famine.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday stepped up pressure on the coalition and urged Riyadh to refrain from airstrikes. 

"We've got to move toward a peace effort here. And we can't say we're going to do it sometime in the future. We need to be doing this in the next 30 days," Mattis said.

He added that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates appeared ready to embrace UN efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Last month, UN-led peace talks failed to take off after Houthi rebels refused to fly to Geneva

In 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a brutal military campaign to push out the Shiite rebels and restore Hadi's internationally recognized government.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have been killed and thousands more displaced in what the UN has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Read moreHow did Yemen's Houthis obtain ballistic missiles?

ev/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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