Cease-fire halts Yemen offensive; Saudi-led bombing kills 7

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Displaced Yemenis arrive at an evacuation center Wednesday in the war-affected port city of Hudaydah. Photo by Yahya/Arhab/EPA-EFE
Displaced Yemenis arrive at an evacuation center Wednesday in the war-affected port city of Hudaydah. Photo by Yahya/Arhab/EPA-EFE

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The Saudi-led coalition on Thursday halted its offensive to retake the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah.

The Trump administration has been pushing for a cease-fire for weeks, with peace talks set in Sweden at the end of the month. With less fighting in Hudaydah, humanitarian groups can get much-needed food and medical supplies to millions of starving civilians.


Though the Saudi and United Arab Emirates forces have been ordered to stop the offensive, the fighting will likely resume if they are attacked by Houthi rebels. The rebels, backed by Iran, overthrew Yemen's government and have been at war with a coalition of pro-government forces that include Saudi Arabia and the UAE. U.S. forces had been providing mid-air refueling support, but that stopped last week.

Thursday's announcement said the Saudis now have the ability to refuel their own aircraft.

RELATED Nearly 150 killed in 24-hour period in Yemen

The battlefield isn't totally quiet, though. A coalition airstrike hit a bus full of civilians Wednesday, killing seven and wounding four.

"It is quieter now but the fighting continues," resident Ibrahim Seif told The Guardian. "A new worry is that employees at the port say the Houthis have started mining all of the entrances except one."


The fighting has focused on the port city of Hudaydah because that's where the aid enters the country. It's also believed to be where Iran smuggles weapons to the rebels, something Tehran denies.

RELATED Reinforcements arrive to back up pro-government fighting in Yemen

House Republicans blocked a resolution Wednesday that would have ended U.S. support for the Yemen conflict.

Republicans say the resolution wasn't necessary after last week's decision to stop mid-air refueling.

"In a few short weeks, the Democrats will assume the majority. They'll be able to hold all the hearings and markups and votes that they want on this matter," Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said. "So forcing this type of vote now in the remainder of this Congress, in my humble opinion, is necessary."

RELATED U.S. to end inflight fueling of Saudi aircraft fighting in Yemen

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said the mass starvation in Yemen gives the situation priority.

"[History] is going to say, 'How they did the Congress not allow a vote while hundreds of thousands of kids were not allowed food and medicine,'" Khanna said.

Latest Headlines