With their previous run against the city having stalled on the outskirts, Saudi-backed Yemeni forces announced on Friday they are beginning a “vast offensive” against the vital aid port of Hodeidah.
The statement declared their forces to be advancing on all fronts, with the backing of Saudi and UAE forces, and said fierce battles were ongoing. Locals within Hodeidah say fighting inside the city still appears quite limited.
Which isn’t to say that fighting isn’t happening. Health officials are reporting heavy airstrikes in the neighborhood surrounding Hodeidah’s main hospital, with at least two civilians killed and 15 others wounded. More than 30 strikes were reported.
The UN issued statements on the fighting, warning both that the heavy fighting is preventing civilians trapped within Hodeidah from fleeing, and that the moves against the aid port are threatening “mass starvation” even as the WFP tries to up the amount of food aid into the country.