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Saudi-led coalition launches air strikes on Yemen airport

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ADEN — The Saudi and Emirati-led coalition has conducted air strikes on Yemen’s Hudaida airport on SUnday to support forces attempting to seize control from Houthi fighters inside, according to Saudi and Houthi media.

The coalition warplanes carried out five strikes on the port city of Hudaida — a lifeline to millions of Yemenis — on Sunday in a continuation of the biggest battle of the war in three years, the Houthis’ official SABA news agency said.

About 20,000 troops, mostly Yemenis from various factions led by United Arab Emirates forces and backed by warplanes and Apache attack helicopters, have been fighting to dislodge the Houthis since 2015.

The coalition wants to restore an internationally recognised government in exile and thwart what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi believe are arch-foe Iran’s ambitions to dominate the region.

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As air raids pounded Houthi fortifications in the airport, Houthi fighters blocked the main road from Hodeidah to Sanaa with mounds of earth and chunks of asphalt to prevent coalition troops from advancing.

The battle for Hodeidah could drag on, creating more suffering for civilians who have already endured air strikes, port blockades, hunger and a cholera epidemic.

The offensive could also have ramifications further afield due to Yemen’s role in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has fuelled instability across the Middle East.

Agencies

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167 people killed in India monsoon floods

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NEW DELHI — At least 167 people have been killed and more than one lakh people forced to live in relief camps across the Indian state of Kerala after monsoon floods badly hit the state.

While torrential rains, overflowing rivers and a series of landslips have cut off vast swathes of land in the state, the Kochi International Airport has been shut till Aug 26 and Southern Railway and Kochi Metro have suspended their operations.

Tens of thousands of people in the state have been stranded by extensive flooding as the death toll from the torrential monsoon continues to climb, according to officials.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said 167 people have died in the state — more than 100 of them in the last 36 hours — and issued a fresh rain alert for the battered state.

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Rescue efforts have been progressing on a war footing and Mr Vijayan’s office said he had spoken to PM Modi again this morning. Four aircraft and three Coast Guard ships have been brought in to rescue people marooned in areas cut off by vast stretches of water.

The state’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter that 25 boats with members of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were sent to Pathanamthitta, central Kerala, and all the boats, including fishing boats, would be used to expedite rescue operations in flooded areas.

he further warned of a grimmer situation as more rain has been forecast till Saturday. “The Centre has sanctioned more men and material,” Vijayan said after a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Central leaders.

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