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Saudi-Led Coalition to Reopen Some Yemen Ports

Women wait to fill up cooking gas cylinders outside a gas station amid supply shortage in Sana'a, Yemen, Nov. 7, 2017.

A Saudi-led coalition says it will reopen some airports and seaports in Yemen in order to allow in humanitarian aid.

The move comes a week after the coalition announced a temporary closure of all ports in response to the firing of a missile from Yemen toward Riyadh, blaming a “vulnerability” in inspection procedures for allowing Iranian military equipment to reach Houthi rebels.

A coalition statement said the first ports to reopen would be those under control of the Yemeni government, including Aden, Mukalla and Mocha.

“The coalition hopes that these immediate, initial and important steps will help alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people,” it said.

It further called for the United Nations to send inspectors to rebel-controlled ports such as Hodeida to boost inspection and verification steps to prevent smuggling of weapons from Iran.

Iranian officials have repeatedly denied arming the Houthis, who seized the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in late 2014. Last week, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pointed to Saudi Arabia’s role in the conflict since it began airstrikes in defense of Yemen’s government in March 2015.

“KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing thousands of innocents, including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but, of course, blames Iran,” Zarif said.

The fighting in Yemen has left at least 10,000 people dead and millions in need of humanitarian aid.