United Nations says over 7mn Yemeni children face 'serious' starvation threat

United Nations says over 7mn Yemeni children face 'serious' starvation threat

Nevertheless, he added, Sanaa's global airport "remains open to United Nations and humanitarian aid deliveries".

"The operation targeted ballistic missile launch-and-storage sites, UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] ground stations, bomb-making facilities and affiliated logistical-support sites at Sanaa's Al-Dailami Airbase", the SPA quoted coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki as saying, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).

Loud explosions were heard across Yemen's Red Sea coastal city of Hodeidah on Friday evening, as pro-government forces began a wide-scale military offensive against the Houthi rebels.

Her statement repeated a United Nations warning that half the population of Yemen - some 14 million people - could soon be on the brink of starvation.

Addressing reporters at the world body's headquarters in NY on Friday, the secretary-general said the warring parties must seize on the "opportunity for peace" presented by UN-brokered talks scheduled to be held in Sweden later this month.

Clashes broke out in a strategic Yemeni port city and airstrikes pummeled the country's capital Friday, as the USA -backed Saudi-led coalition launched a fresh offensive in the Middle East's poorest country, two days after an American call for a cease-fire.

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"We have evidence that today in Yemen every 10 minutes a child under the age of 5 is dying from preventable diseases and severe acute malnutrition", he told Reuters from Hodeidah. An estimated 10,000 people have been killed and more than 8 million are at risk of starvation from a looming famine, including 2 million mothers who are risking death.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the so-called Saudi-led coalition "airstrikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen".

The city's port is the main entry point of the country's 70 percent of imports and aid.

Both Tehran and the rebels deny the port is being used to smuggle arms from Iran into Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the war in 2015 to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa.

Despite a high-profile modernisation drive aimed at improving Saudi Arabia's image and attracting foreign investment, rights groups have detailed a crackdown on activists, increase in executions and discrimination against the Shiite minority.

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