EU: Civilians paying ultimate price in Yemen conflict

By Serife Cetin

BRUSSELS (AA) – Yemeni civilians caught in the crossfire in a port city are bearing the terrible brunt of the escalating conflict, said the EU on Monday.

The attacks around the city and port of Al-Hudaydah in West Yemen increased in recent days, and civilians in the crossfire are paying the ultimate price for the conflict once again, said a statement from the office of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

It said that the attacks targeted civilian infrastructure, thus violating international humanitarian law.

"Cutting off access into and from Al-Hudaydah will push even more Yemenis to the brink of starvation, as the supply of basic commodities is disrupted," said the statement, adding that Yemen now has 22 million people who need assistance and 14 million on the brink of famine.

The office also said that affected civilians should be given basic commodities such as fuel, food and medicines, and the EU is backing the UN-led negotiation process.

Last week, Yemeni government forces launched a fresh military operation to retake Al-Hudaydah — and its two strategic seaports — from rebel Houthis.

Al-Hudaydah receives roughly 70 percent of the commercial imports and humanitarian aid entering the country.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

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