Hodeidah port's cranes are pictured from a nearby shantytown in Hodeidah, Yemen June 16, 2018. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad
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Arab coalition aircraft bombarded Houthi fighters dug in at the airport of Yemen's main port Hodeidah on Monday as a senior alliance official said he hoped U.N. diplomacy could coax the Iran-aligned movement to cede the city to "save the population".United Arab Emirates forces are spearheading the Hodeidah offensive, now focused on the airport of the Red Sea city.The United Nations says 22 million Yemenis depend on aid, and 8.4 million are on the verge of starvation.The Arab alliance says it can take Hodeidah quickly enough to avoid interrupting aid. "Our approach is methodical, gradual, calibrated to squeeze, to make a point, to allow the Houthis to do the right thing, which is basically decide to withdraw unconditionally".He said the coalition was counting on Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, to secure a Houthi agreement to vacate Hodeidah. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that fresh military action would not resolve Yemen's crisis.The Houthis, who rule Yemen's capital and most of the populated areas in the unstable nation of 30 million people, deny the Arab states' assertions they are puppets of Iran.
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