UAE, Qatar send four relief aircraft to Yemen

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said the aircrafts were loaded with foodstuffs and relief aid to Yemen

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The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have donated four aircraft-loads of humanitarian relief aid to Yemen, Saudi-led coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said Saturday.

Asiri said the aircraft, which are loaded with foodstuffs and other items, landed in Djibouti in the past two days, before flying on to the Yemeni port cities of Aden and Hodeida.

The spokesman made the remarks during his daily press briefing in the Saudi capital Riyadh on the continued operation against Houthi militias in Yemen.

Asiri told reporters there was continuous fighting from Friday afternoon until late at night along the frontier in the southwestern Saudi region of Najran.

The fighting claimed the life of one Saudi soldier, making him the seventh to die since Operation Decisive Storm began in Yemen.

"One of our Saudi soldiers was killed," Assiri said, adding that the coalition has carried out more than 2,000 aerial sorties during the three-week campaign.

He also thanked the Djibouti government for opening its airspace and sea for the coalition, saying the step “contributes in consolidating and enhancing relief and humanitarian works in Yemen.”

He noted that relief operations achieved a great progress in Yemen and that other shipments will arrive within days to Yemeni sea ports, according to statements carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

“We coordinate with the People's Committees and the tribesmen to deliver them to the Yemeni citizens,” Asiri said, referring to armed groups fighting against the Houthis.

Meanwhile, coalition warplanes struck ammunition storage facilities controlled by Houthis, he added.

Asiri said the coalition has information regarding a possible Houthi assault on the Saudi border.

He also discussed what he called Houthi attempts of “sabotage” against Yemeni citizens.

“These militias establish checkpoints at the border crossing ports between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in addition to sea ports and airports.

“They arrested citizens supporting the legitimate [government]. We have information confirming abduction of volunteer aid workers in Lahj. The Red Cross staff are being harassed by these militias during carrying out their duties,” he added.

He also said fake permits have been issued by Houthis for airline companies.

“The Yemeni government and the coalition command affirm that the official body for issuance of any air or sea permits is the coalition command which will not allow any aircraft to land at airports in the Republic of Yemen.”

The remarks were made in reference to a Kenyan plane that was forced to land in the Saudi border city of Jazan earlier.

“The Kenyan plane was forced yesterday to land and left after completion of the investigation,” he added.

(with AFP)