Saudis close air, sea, land access to Yemen to stop flow of Iran arms to Houthis

by WorldTribune Staff, November 7, 2017

The Saudi-led military coalition said on Nov. 6 it would temporarily close all Yemeni air, sea and land ports.

Burkan H-2 missile type that was fired by Houthi rebels on Nov. 4. / Al Arabiya

The coalition said it made the move to stop the flow of arms from Iran to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Reuters reported.

On Nov. 4, a missile fired by Houthi rebels toward the Saudi capital, Riyadh, was intercepted by coalition air defenses. The missile was brought down near Riyadh airport without causing casualties.

The coalition accused the Houthis of a “dangerous escalation (that) came because of Iranian support.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted that Riyadh reserved the right to respond to what he called Iran’s “hostile actions.” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa also tweeted that Iran was the real danger to the region.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saudi Arabia was blaming Teheran for the consequences of its own “wars of aggression.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged the coalition to reopen the ports for so shipments of medical supplies could go through. The relief agency said a shipment of chlorine tables used to prevent cholera, which has ravaged Yemen over the past months, didn’t get a clearance at Yemen’s northern border. More supplies are due next week, including 50,000 vials of insulin, ICRC said.

“Insulin cannot wait at a shuttered border since it must be kept refrigerated. Without a quick solution to the closure, the humanitarian consequences will be dire,” said ICRC’s regional director, Robert Mardini.

In announcing the closures, Saudi Arabia had said it would take into consideration continuing aid efforts.

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