Houthis ‘delay departure’ of Russian aid plane

The spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition said the move was an attempt to attract international attention

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Iranian-backed Houthi militias delayed on Thursday the departure of a Russian plane from the capital Sanaa that was carrying more than 20 tons of humanitarian aid, the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-backed group there said.

“The militias have prevented the departure [of the Russian aid plane] ... in an attempt to attract international attention,” Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri told Al Arabiya News channel.

“The plane is now scheduled to fly back to the Russian capital tomorrow,” Asiri said.

Asiri added that “only one Russia [aid] plane” landed in Yemen “after getting the permission from the Arab coalition.”

Meanwhile, the Russian ministry said the plane will be flying back to Moscow with around 75 people on board who apparently wanted to leave Sanaa, which is under Houthi control.

It added that the Il-76 was transporting “23 tonnes of humanitarian aid” including food and tents.

Russia last sent planes to Yemen's capital in July, with Moscow saying they had some 46 tonnes of aid.

Since late March, the Saudi-led coalition has bombed Iranian-backed Houthi militias and forces allied to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a bid to put the government of internationally recognized President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi back in power.

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