Iranian-supported Houthi Rebels Booby-trapping UN Food Warehouses In Yemen’s Hodeidah
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have been accused of booby-trapping United Nations food warehouses in Hodeidah in order to prevent much-needed aid from reaching some 15 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation. The charge comes amid a tense cease-fire in the strategic port city through which an estimated 80 percent of all goods enters the war-torn country. While much of the international community’s focus (and ire) has been directed at the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni countries that intervened militarily in the conflict four years ago, a recent Associated Press investigation found that the Houthis have been exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. The AP concluded that Tehran-supported rebels were selling food aid on the black market; diverting it to fighters on the front lines; or simply thwarting delivery to nearly 70% of the Yemeni population living in territories under its control. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—whose bombing campaign has killed hundreds if not thousands of civilians—last week pledged $1.5 billion in additional aid to Yemen at a United Nations-sponsored conference.