Raid destroyed Sanaa airport navigation station

SANAA: Rebel authorities in Yemen said on Tuesday that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed a navigation station at Sanaa international airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.

The strike « led to the total destruction of the VOR/DME radio navigation system, taking it offline and thus halting the only flights at Sanaa airport — those of the United Nations and other international organisations delivering humanitarian assistance, » the rebel-run General Authority for Civil Aviation said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia and its allies tightened a longstanding blockade of Yemen’s land, sea and air borders a week ago in response to a missile fired by the Iran-backed Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh international airport.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador said the coalition would take steps to ease the blockade but would not reopen a key rebel-held port to aid shipments unless tighter inspections were put in place.

The United Nations insisted its aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef, saying that more than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 percent of all cholera cases are closest to the two ports.

Aden port, which is controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia, does not have the capacity, according to the UN, to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo and would mean hazardous cross-line deliveries.

The Yemen war has killed thousands and brought the impoverished country to the brink of famine, as the coalition continues to fight alongside the government against the Huthis and their ally, strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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