Yemen’s Houthi rebels said on Tuesday they had authorized the temporary resumption of UN flights to the capital’s Sanaa airport, a week after the shutdown due to the Saudi coalition airstrikes.
“The Civil Aviation Authority announces the resumption of UN and other organization flights to Sana’a airport on a temporary basis,” rebel-run Al-Masirah television reported.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (of the rebel administration) has been contacted to inform the UN and all international organizations that Sana’a airport was ready to receive flights.”
Yemen is embroiled in a civil war between the government – backed by the Saudi-led coalition – and Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2014.
Flights to the rebel-held capital have been largely interrupted by a Saudi-led blockade since August 2016, but there have been exemptions for aid flights which are a lifeline for the population.
Houthi rebels said UN aid flights to Sana’a were interrupted by Saudi airstrikes last week, but the coalition said the airport had already been closed two days earlier and blamed them. rebels.
Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki said on Sunday that the Houthis were “militarizing” Sana’a airport and using it as “the main center for launching ballistic missiles and drones” into the kingdom.
The Houthis on Tuesday accused the coalition of preventing the entry of “communication and navigation devices … into Sana’a airport to replace the old ones.”
“The UN and international organizations have been informed that the long-term operation of these devices is not guaranteed, given their age,” they added.
(AXADLETM with AFP)
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