US Intelligence Denies UAE Request to Support New Offensive in Yemen

Civilians flee bombardment as Arab states pound Yemen port

Ahmed al-Kawkabani, a Yemeni who leads a force known as the Tohama Brigade, told the Associated Press that his forces are now positioned in Dawar al-Hodeida, Arabic for "Hodeida roundabout".

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Twitter that Yemenis "fear a siege" and "are under "immense pressure", with people scrambling for food and safe shelter".

Yemen's government said Wednesday that negotiations had failed to force the Houthis from Hudaida, and that a grace period for UN-led peace efforts was over.

This was confirmed by two Yemeni military officials allied to the coalition. "We hope for a rapid conclusion", she said, "but we are facing a small, fanatical group of fighters armed by Iran".

"About 70 percent of Yemen's aid and commercial imports enter through Hodeida and the nearby Saleef port, providing food, fuel, and medicine that the population needs for survival", Human Rights Watch said.

Hodeida, home to almost 600,000 people, is some 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Sanaa, Yemen's capital, which is under Houthi control. "It is time for the Security Council to call for an immediate freeze of the military attack on Hodeida", said Swedish ambassador Olof Skoog in a statement.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is warning "more and more fighters" are in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida amid a Saudi-led campaign to capture it.

A United Nations diplomatic source said five commercial vessels were offloading at the port.

France provided minesweeping support at the UAE's request after the United States did not want to or was not able to, but it's not clear if the mass assault on Hudaydah received other support in the form of intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance assets, as the Emirates requested.

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The missile was intercepted over Khamis Mushait in the kingdom's south, and no casualties were reported, the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

He also reported receiving a letter dated May 15 from Ukraine's United Nations ambassador indicating that its security service "prevented an attempt by two Iranian nationals to procure and transfer" to Iran components of a Kh-31 air-to-surface missile and related technical documents.

The official said that the Trump administration denied the requests within the past 24 hours as a UAE operation to wrest control of the port from Iranian-backed Shiite rebels got underway.

Capturing Hodeidah would give the Arab coalition the upper hand in the war, in which it has fought since 2015 to restore an exiled government driven out by the Houthis. The local hospital in Hodeida already is struggling to help the wounded, the group said.

The ICRC team said the signs of poverty are widespread, with people in slums "surviving on bread crumbs they find in the garbage".

Yemeni pro-government forces closed in on a rebel-held airport Friday as they pressed a sweeping offensive on a key Red Sea port city, sparking United Nations fears for vital aid shipments.

The Emirati official said the request had been rejected within the last 24 hours, saying that while the USA did not give a reason for the rejection the official believed the request was denied because of congressional opposition over concerns about potential civilian casualties. The official said UAE intelligence indicated that Houthis had mined the port.

Prince Salman has been sharply criticised for the decision to embark on the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, devastated the country's infrastructure, and led to one of the world's worst cholera outbreaks in 50 years.

In the face of global concerns over the humanitarian situation, the UAE said on Friday that it would begin sending aid by air and sea to Hodeida, the state-run WAM news agency said.

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