Saudi-led coalition blames Houthi rebels for Yemen port deaths

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The toll from US-backed Saudi coalition air strikes on a fish market and hospital in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah Thursday has risen to at least 60 people dead and 130 others wounded.

The same report also quoted rebel-run Al Masirah TV which said the attack killed 52 people and left more than 100 wounded.

Its spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Malki, showed images of mortars at a press conference in Riyadh on Friday and said they demonstrated that Houthi forces were behind the carnage.

Mr. Griffiths has been leading efforts to prevent a full-scale coalition assault on Hodeida, which is responsible for more than 70 percent of imports to Yemen and is a vital lifeline for a country already teetering on the brink of starvation.

Strikes have picked up around the city since the Saudis last week accused the Iran-aligned Houthis of attacking two oil tankers operated by one of the kingdom's companies in the waters of the Red Sea.

In June, the Saudi coalition, which includes the United Arab Emirates and Sunni Muslim states, launched an offensive to capture the port city.

Qassemi also noted that the daily bombardment of civilian targets and massacre of innocent and defenceless people of Yemen by Saudi and Emirati warplanes should not normalize the crimes committed by the aggressors in the eyes of public opinion at regional, global and worldwide levels and make them indifferent to the crisis and the plight of the Yemenis.

The rebels have offered to hand over control of Hodeidah to the United Nations but the coalition insists the Houthis leave the western coast.

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On the same day that the United Nations announced the upcoming talks, an air raid on the Yemeni Red Sea town of Hodeida - controlled by Houthis - led to some 55 civilian deaths and 170 injuries, according to Red Cross reports.

The UN warned had also warned in May that 22 million Yemenis were dependent on humanitarian assistance or protection - over eight million of whom are at risk of starvation.

The port is the sole source of aid for northern Yemen, and is believed to supply food for around 8.4 million Yemenis.

Salama said the main hospital building remained intact but many subsidiary departments, especially the statistical department, were hit, affecting workers preparing for the cholera campaign.

The disregard of worldwide humanitarian law in Yemen can not be tolerated.

"We apply the highest worldwide standards in targeting operations in Yemen", he said.

Martin Griffiths told the Security Council that "a political solution" to end the war in Yemen was "available" and urged world powers to support the new push for peace negotiations.

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