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First commercial flight in six years leaves Yemen’s Houthi-held capital: Report

Published: Updated:

The first commercial flight in nearly six years took off on Monday from Yemen’s capital, which is held by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, a major step forward in a peace process that has provided rare relief from conflict.

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The Yemenia plane carrying 151 passengers, including hospital patients needing treatment abroad and their relatives, took off from Sanaa for the Jordanian capital Amman just after 9:00 am (0600 GMT), AFP journalists saw.

Sanaa’s airport has been closed to commercial traffic since August 2016.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been wracked with war since 2014 when a civil war erupted. An Arab Coalition including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened the following year.

According to UN figures, more than 150,000 people have died in the violence and millions have been displaced, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

But a truce has been in place since April 2, coinciding with the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Before take-off, the plane was taxied through an honor guard of two fire trucks spraying jets of water.

Read more:

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