Saudi-led coalition strikes Houthi targets in Yemen port district

UN envoy Martin Griffiths called for de-escalation after heavy fighting in recent weeks

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen carried out an operation against Houthi targets in the country’s port district, Salif, on Saturday, Saudi state TV reported.

Citing the coalition, the broadcaster said that sites used to build drones and boats laden with explosives had been destroyed. The coalition claimed the sites, close to the port city of Hodeidah, posed a major threat to maritime shipping lines in the Red Sea’s Bab Al Mandeb strait.

Houthi-aligned Al Masirah TV also said late on Saturday that the coalition was carrying out strikes on the district of Salif, with no mention of casualties.

Recent weeks have seen significant Houthi advances in north Yemen as the rebels gained control of Al Hazam city, the capital of Al Jawf province, which borders Saudi Arabia. They also seized large swathes of Nehim district, near the rebel-held capital, Sanaa.

On Saturday, the UN's special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths visited Marib province, the internationally-recognised government's last northern stronghold and called for a ceasefire after days of bloody clashes between pro-government forces and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

His visit came after government troops began preparations for a major offensive to regain territory in the north. Mr Griffiths warned that large-scale conflict could erupt in the oil-rich Marib province if the two sides did not de-escalate with immediate effect.

“We will either silence the guns and resume the political process, or we will slip back into large-scale conflict and suffering that you have already seen here in Marib,” he said, adding that Yemen is at a critical juncture.