UN Condemns Saudi-Led Attacks on Sanaa Airport

UN Condemns Saudi-Led Attacks on Sanaa Airport
UN Condemns Saudi-Led Attacks on Sanaa Airport

The United Nations condemned the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes on Yemen's Sanaa airport on Monday, urging the Arab alliance to stop bombings and "preserve this important lifeline."

“Without access to the airports, aid agencies are unable to bring in staff, vital supplies of medicines and other critical life-saving assistance, or undertake medical evacuations of their personnel,” said Johannes Van Der Kaauw, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, DW said in a report.

"I strongly urge the coalition to stop targeting Sanaa International Airport and to preserve this important lifeline – and all other airports and seaports – so that humanitarians can reach all those affected by the armed conflict in Yemen," he said.

"Coalition airstrikes have targeted the runways of Sanaa International Airport over the past week, rendering them inoperable," the UN official said in a statement. "No flights can take off or land while the runways are being repaired."

Two aid agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Doctors Without Borders, said they were extremely concerned about damage to the airports at Sanaa and the port city of Hodeidah.

"The harsh restrictions on importations imposed by the Coalition for the past six weeks, added to the extreme fuel shortages, have made the daily lives of Yemenis unbearable, and their suffering immense,” said Cedric Schweizer who heads a team of 250 ICRC staff in Yemen.

The UN World Food Program, which handles logistics for humanitarian agencies, said it planned to set up an air passenger service to bring humanitarian workers in for the next three months and to deliver aid supplies within Yemen for the rest of the year.

Airstrikes Continue

Meanwhile, Heavy Saudi-led airstrikes targeted several airports Monday across Yemen even as the kingdom's foreign minister said officials were considering a cease-fire to allow aid into the Arab world's poorest country.

In the southern city of Aden, more than 150 airstrikes hit the city's airport, witnesses and security officials said. Houthi forces are pit in fierce fighting there against forces loyal to fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Monday's airstrikes also hit airports in the city of Hodeida and Sanaa, witnesses and officials said. They said other airstrikes targeted Yemen's eastern province of Marib and the Houthi stronghold of Saada, while clashes in Aden left buildings ablaze and the Saudi-led coalition airdropped weapons to tribes allied with Hadi's government in Marib.

Senegal Sends 2,100 Soldiers

Senegalese Foreign Affairs Minister Mankeur Ndiaye said his country is sending 2,100 soldiers to help back the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, becoming the first sub-Saharan African country to contribute soldiers to the effort.

Senegal has received significant financial investments from Saudi Arabia in recent years. Senegalese President Macky Sall met last month with the Saudi king, who solicited troop contributions at that time.

Houthis, along with security personnel loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been targeted by Saudi-led airstrikes since late March. On Monday, newly appointed Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said coalition countries were considering a ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"Saudi Arabia is consulting with members of the alliance ... to find specific places to deliver humanitarian assistance, during which there will be a halt of all air operations, and in specific timings to help deliver the aid," the official Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying.

More than 1,200 people have been killed in the Yemen conflict, many of those civilians, according to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The UN humanitarian agency said later Monday that insecurity and lack of fuel have limited the delivery of services, and aid partners report difficulty in providing medical services amid the current security situation.