Thursday 21 November 2019

UN begins evacuating international staff from Yemeni capital

THE United Nations began evacuating international staff from Sanaa on Saturday due to the security situation in the Yemeni capital, where a Saudi-led air campaign has been targeting Shi'ite Muslim Houthi forces, a U.N. source said.

The source said the staff, numbering more than 100, were heading to the airport and were expected to relocate to several countries including Jordan.

United Nations Special envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar was due to join U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the annual Arab summit in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the source added.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia's navy evacuated dozens of foreign diplomats from the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, state television reported on Saturday.

An army tank moves on a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden
An army tank moves on a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden

"The Saudi Royal Navy implemented an operation called Hurricane to evacuate dozens of diplomats, including Saudis, from Aden," a news ticker on the state news broadcaster Al Ekhbariya TV said.

It added that the diplomats had arrived safely at Saudi Arabia's Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait relocated their embassies to Aden last month after Houthi forces overran Sanaa. Other Arab and Western states also withdrew diplomats from the capital.

Houthi fighters made broad gains in the country's south and east on Friday despite a second day of Saudi-led air strikes meant to check the Iranian-backed militia's efforts to overthrow President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Shi'ite Muslim Houthi fighters and allied army units gained their first foothold on Yemen's Arabian Sea coast by seizing the port of Shaqra 100km (60 miles) east of Aden, residents told Reuters.


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