Iran-backed rebels Yemen have accused Saudi Arabia of blowing up part of the capital’s airport and preventing much-needed aid from entering the country.
Houthi rebel leaders said on Tuesday that the radio navigation system at Sanaa International Airport had been destroyed in a Saudi airstrike.
‘This halted the only flights at Sanaa airport – those of the United Nations and other international organisations delivering humanitarian assistance’, the rebel-run General Authority for Civil Aviation said.
Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen say the radio navigation tower at Sanaa airport was destroyed preventing aid aircraft, the only ones currently using the runway, to land
The destruction of the navigation tower cuts off another aid supply line into Yemen where it is estimated 7million people are facing famine (pictured, people inspect the site of a second Saudi strike in the Yemeni capital)
Seven million people are at risk of famine in Yemen, according to the United Nations, and are relying almost exclusively on aid to feed themselves.
There was international outcry last week when Saudi Arabia blockaded the country’s ports after a missile was fired towards its territory by the Houthi rebels.
On Monday Saudi agreed to reopen ports in government controlled areas, but demanded extra security measures be put in place around the rebel controlled port of Hodeida.
Jamie McGoldrick, the head of the UN’s aid mission in Yemen, criticised the Saudis, saying such measures would take too long to implement and cause needless deaths.
People inspect damage at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa after a Saudi airstrike
The strike comes just a day after Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi agreed to reopen some ports to allow aid in. He had faced international outcry over the move last week
UN aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef because more than two-thirds of the people in need are closest to those ports, he said.
Aden port, which is controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia, does not have the capacity to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo, he added.
The day after the UN heard from Mr McGoldrick, the navigation tower was destroyed.
World Health Organization officials say more than 8,600 people have died since fighting broke out in Yemen in March 2015.
Some 2,000 of those deaths were the result of a cholera epidemic that swept rebel-held areas this summer, with half a million people infected.
Almost 50,000 have been wounded in the fighting, according to WHO figures.