When Saudis go to war, the Crown Prince visits a football game

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Fighters supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday rushed to the Yemeni port of Al Hudaydah, the second day of a battle that analysts said would be the bloodiest of the Yemen war could.

When the builder of the war, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Saudi Arabia, attacked the area around Al Hudaydah's airport, he attended the opening match of the World Cup in Moscow, Saudi Arabia against Russia.

The crown prince praised the Saudi team from a luxury box with his host, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

In a cut shot, the television show showed the two leaders after the third Russian goal. The Crown Prince turned to Mr. Putin and threw his hands in a gesture of futility in the air. Putin gave him a compassionate look.

In the field in Moscow, the Saudi national team was defeated by the Russians 5: 0.

On the battlefield in Yemen, where the coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting Houthi rebels, who have been supported by Iran for more than three years, the day was not that crucial. It was not clear what progress the ground forces supported by the coalition had made in Al Hudaydah, or which victims had victims.

The United States rejected a request from the Emirati government this week to provide information. Enlightenment and Navy minesweepers due to growing congressional opposition to the offensive, Emirati said Thursday.

The Emirates turned to France, which was willing to provide explosives to minesweepers, the Houthi fighters in Al Hudaydah Harbor, the official said, effectively thwarting an amphibious assault on the harbor.

Maj. Adrian J. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington, declined to comment on Emirate's request for aid to Operation Al Hudaydah, pointing to confidential talks between the two countries and their military.

The French authorities have not confirmed this

It was unclear how long it would take for French minesweepers to arrive and clear a waterway that was safe enough for the troop-laden Emirati ships to take their place in the Emirati soldiers were killed in the first hours of operation when their troop ship was hit by an anti-ship missile about 20 miles outside the port, said the Emirati official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the operation ,

Emirati officials said the military offensive's goal is to force the Houthi fighters into submission by denying them a haven that, according to an estimate by the Emirati, would cost the rebels between US $ 30 million and US $ 40 million -Dollar per month for port fees and other revenue. The aim is to force the Houthis into a political solution.

The fighting on Thursday apparently focused on the city's airport, the first strategic destination that the Arab Coalition sought to conquer before fending for control of vital harbor facilities. About 80 percent of the country's humanitarian aid comes through the harbor.

Local forces, trained and financed by the Emirati military, clashed on the southern outskirts with fighters loyal to the Yemeni rebel movement, the Houthis, who have controlled Al Hudaydah for the past three years

Aid groups say it There have been no reports of shelling or bombing in the city. A spokesman for the Saudi military, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, said the coalition plan should take control of the airport, the seaport, and the route to the capital, Sana, but not the urban war.

But in Yemen's protracted civil war, which has killed about 10,000 people and has led to tens of thousands more deaths from illness and hunger, international aid agencies are wary of predictions by the Saudis and the Emiratis that they will have a quick victory in Al Hudaydah's complex urban environment could achieve. 19659002] Al Hudaydah is a city of 600,000 inhabitants. About a quarter of a million people in a city attack are at risk of being injured or killed, according to the United Nations.

Any battle that damages or decommissioned the port could have serious consequences across the country. According to the United Nations and aid agencies, eight million of Yemen's 28 million are currently starving . The port of Al Hudaydah is an important gateway to bringing food and other help to a large number of people.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, exiled in Saudi Arabia, arrived in the southern city After Aden made his first return to Yemen in 2015, the Yemeni embassy in Washington said. Hadi fled the country in the same year after the Houthis tried to force him out of power, partly because he had neither a natural constituency nor loyalist fighters in the deep-ridden country to protect him. A Houthi-led court sentenced Mr. Hadi to death in 2017 for betraying his alliance with the Saudis and their military invasion of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia-led coalition said this week they had begun their attack on Al Hudaydah On behalf of Hadi's government

In New York, the United Nations Security Council met privately for two hours to speak about Yemen but he has done nothing to ensure the safety of the civilian population in Al Hudaydah. Ambassador Vasily A. Nebenzia of Russia, president of the 15-member Council for June, told reporters that he "called on all parties to honor their obligations under international law."

Representatives of the Saudi and Emirati parties led a press campaign by their rationale for the attack. In this regard, Emirati diplomats around the world repeated similar points in hastily organized meetings with journalists. They criticized the Houthi rebels for much of the humanitarian emergency in Yemen, insisting that the Arab coalition could make the flow of aid more effective and alleviate Yemeni suffering.

"We believe this operation is a critical step on the road to a political solution to this conflict," said Emirati Ambassador to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh, to reporters in a meeting.

She described the attack as a "deliberate, carefully prepared and conducted operation" and said the coalition's advancing forces would move. calibrated, gradual, and that every step on the way will give the Houthis the opportunity to retreat, disarm, and return to the negotiation process. "

Ms. Nusseibeh would not speculate about the duration of the operation against the Houthis in Al Hudaydah." We hope for a quick conclusion, "she said," but we face a small, fanatical group of fighters from Iran

The Saudis and the Emiratis intervened in the Yemen civil war in 2015 to fight the Houthis

Prince Mohammed was sharply criticized for deciding to start the war that killed thousands of Yemeni civilians destroying the country's infrastructure and causing one of the worst cholera outbreaks in the world in 50 years.

Yemen has moved into concurrent control zones between Houthis controlling both the capital and its ancestral territory in the north, Emirati and Saudi Yemeni forces in the south and on the coast of the Red Sea, and tribal areas in the interior, where Al Qaeda followers rule.

The Houthi leadership has attacked both the Arab intervention and Western governments, which sees the group as accomplices in the offensive.

Houthi-led news agency Saba cites a nameless Houthi defense official on Thursday, saying the group has so far rejected all coalition attacks.

"All of the US-backed Saudi Aggression Coalition planned offensive action to control parts of the West Coast and carry out a military landing failed," the official said, according to Saba.

Margaret Coker reported from Dubai and Eric Schmitt from Washington. Rick Gladstone contributed United Nations reports.

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