Yemen rebels say raid destroys airport navigation aids

Yemen rebels say raid destroys airport navigation aids

Air traffic in Sanaa's airport is now restricted to flights carrying humanitarian aid sent by the United Nations and other worldwide organizations.

The Saudi-led coalition was not immediately available for comment.

"The authority emphasises that attack is an explicit violation of global covenants and treaties, which stipulate that civilian airports are not targeted", it added.

The ports were closed after Houthis attacked Riyadh near its worldwide airport through a ballistic missile on November 4.

Last week, the Saudi-led coalition intensified its embargo on Yemen, closing all of the country's land, sea and air ports after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Transport minister Mourad al-Halimi had said Yemenia flights to the pro-government-held cities of Aden and Seiyun would resume on Sunday, but the national carrier said it did not have the necessary permits to fly. More than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 per cent of all cholera cases in Yemen are closest to the two ports, which are both in rebel-held territory.

The UN says the closure of Hodeida port puts millions of civilians in the north at risk. The port of Aden controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia but does not have the capacity, according to the United Nations, to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo.

A top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels who are at war with a Saudi-led military coalition is vowing retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its disastrous blockade of the war-torn country.

"Millions of Yemenis depend on this airport for aid and we have hundreds of staff use it to move in and out of the country", he said.

The Houthis control most of the north, including Sanaa and its worldwide airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Sanaa, Rasha Muhrez, director of operations at the charity Save the Children, said aid agencies were struggling to contain the crisis. "There are many sources of supply to Yemen, even during the past week or so".

"We're very concerned about the attacks on... the airstrikes on Sana'a Airport".

Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi reiterated at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in NY on Monday that closed seaports and airports will start reopening within the 24 hours promised late Sunday. But the United Nations said most of the airport remained intact and that it would be able to receive aid shipments once they restart. "They need immediate assistance".

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