Yemen flights canceled after coalition shuts all ports

SANAA, Yemen — Yemen's national airline said Monday it has canceled all flights to the country's only two functioning airports after the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels announced the closure of all land, air and sea ports.

The tightening of an embargo that has been in place since 2015 came after a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis at an international airport on the outskirts of the Saudi capital was intercepted. The Houthis have fired a number of missiles across the border in recent years, but Saturday's strike appeared to be the deepest yet within Saudi territory.

The coalition blamed Iran for Saturday's missile strike, saying it could be "considered as an act of war." Iran supports the Houthis but has denied arming them and said it had nothing to do with the missile launches. The Houthis have said their Volcano-variant ballistic missile is locally produced.

The closures could further limit access for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Arab world's poorest country, which has been devastated by more than two years of conflict. The fighting has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced up to 3 million. The coalition said the closures would be temporary and "take into account" the work of aid organizations.

Yemenia airlines said Monday that the coalition, which controls Yemen's airspace, had declined permission to fly out of Aden and Sayoun, both in areas of southern Yemen controlled by coalition allies.

Yemen's main international airport, in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, has been closed since August 2016 by order of the coalition. The rebel-held north has largely relied on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is controlled by the Houthis, for delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid and fuel supplies. A full blockade of the port would cut off a crucial lifeline for the Houthis, as well as millions of civilians.

It's not yet clear whether any supplies will be allowed to enter via land crossings with Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The missile strike has further stoked tensions between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, regional rivals who support opposing sides in the wars in Yemen and Syria.

"Iran's role and its direct command of its Houthi proxy in this matter constitutes a clear act of aggression that targets neighboring countries, and threatens peace and security in the region and globally," the statement said. "Therefore, the coalition's command considers this a blatant act of military aggression by the Iranian regime, and could rise to be considered as an act of war against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

The Saudi-led coalition launched a wave of airstrikes on the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, apparently in response to the ballistic missile. Saudi Arabia said it shot down the missile, with fragments landing in an uninhabited area north of the capital.

President Donald Trump was quick to blame Iran on Sunday. "A shot was just taken by Iran, in my opinion, at Saudi Arabia. And our system knocked it down," Trump said, referring to the Patriot missile batteries Saudi Arabia purchased from the U.S.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard chief, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said Iran can't transfer rockets to Yemen and stressed that the missiles were made there. He described Trump's comments as "lies."

The Houthis said in a statement that the missile was launched in response to bombings that have killed civilians.

Related News

Iran's working class, facing dim prospects, fuels...

Jan 6, 2018

Iran's protests over the past week have been centered in dozens of long-neglected cities and towns,...

Egypt places colossus of Ramses II in atrium of...

Jan 25, 2018

Egypt places giant statue of Ramses II in entrance hall of antiquities museum under construction...

Egypt thanks Eni for gas field efforts despite...

Jan 31, 2018

Egypt's president has again accused unknown parties of being behind the 2016 murder of an Italian...

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside...

Feb 3, 2018

Archaeologists in Egypt say they have discovered 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids outside Cairo

Rare dinosaur discovery in Egypt could signal...

Feb 6, 2018

Researchers have discovered a new species of dinosaur in the Egyptian desert, a long-necked...

President says Egypt 'scored a goal' with Israel...

Feb 21, 2018

Egypt's president says his country 'scored a goal' with $15 billion Israeli gas deal

Peaple also read these

Iran's working class, facing dim prospects, fuels...

Jan 6, 2018

Iran's protests over the past week have been centered in dozens of long-neglected cities and towns,...

Iran displays ancient Persian artifacts returned...

Feb 8, 2017

Iran is displaying hundreds of ancient and Persian artifacts, some dating back as far as 3,500...

Iran's top leader pledges to continue missile...

Aug 3, 2017

Iran's supreme leader slams new US sanctions on Tehran, pledges Iran will continue its missile...

Iran TV airs images of site of airplane crash...

Feb 20, 2018

Iranian state TV airs first images of site of airplane crash in southern Iran that killed 65 people

Attacks in and around Baghdad kill 23

Jan 8, 2017

A wave of attacks in and around Baghdad has killed at least 23 people, the latest in a series of...

Sign up now!

About Us

What if you could see what will happen to the world in the next 10 years? In The Daily Futurist, we explore mostly on geography, archaeology and natural science. See the future here in The Daily Futurist.

Contact us: sales@thedailyfuturist.com