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.
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.
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.