U.S. to stop refueling planes in Yemen war

Amid Saudi-led bombing Pompeo pins responsibility for starvation in Yemen… on Iran

A woman holds her malnourished son in Sanaa Yemen

Abu Dhabi's Prince Mohammed bin Zayed led a "top-level delegation" to Riyadh, the official Saudi news agency said in a statement, after the U.S. halted a controversial refuelling arrangement for coalition air craft engaged in Yemen, AFP said.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said early Saturday it had "requested cessation of inflight refueling" by the US for its fighter jets after American officials said they would stop the operations amid growing anger over civilian casualties from the kingdom's airstrikes.

The Saudi-led military operations are "increasingly confining populations and cutting off exit routes", the statement said.

In the past 24 hours, fighting claimed the lives of 27 rebels and 12 pro-government fighters on the outskirts of Hodeida city, a medical source told AFP on Wednesday.

The German news agency quoted other military sources as saying that "Yemeni forces had fully taken control of the May 22 hospital and its neighboring buildings in the Khamseen Street, east of the city".

The Saudi-led coalition that is bombing Yemen has asked for the "cessation of inflight refueling support" from the United States.

United Nations bodies warn that an all-out attack on the Red Sea port, an entry point for 80 percent of Yemen's food imports and aid relief, could trigger a starvation in the impoverished country.

But new figures show that civilian deaths are going up.

Aid agencies have long warned that fighting in Hodeidah risks escalating the country's dire humanitarian crisis.

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"But I think the real pressure, is actions like the announcement that the USA would no longer be providing in-air refuelling of Saudi bombers, that is an important step".

The incident has ratcheted up tensions between the two nations and sparked strong calls on Capitol Hill to cut off arms sales and military support for Saudi Arabia, along with imposing possible economic sanctions.

Also on Saturday, Saudi Arabia sought to project the decision to end in-flight refuelling as its own, not Washington's.

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi has certainly put more of a spotlight on the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen", she told Al Jazeera.

Mattis last month made a surprise call for a ceasefire in Yemen and urged warring parties to enter negotiations within the next 30 days. The Post first reported the Trump administration's desire to end the refueling.

"We are all focused on supporting resolution of the conflict, led by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths", Mattis said in a statement.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The World Health Organization estimates almost 10,000 people have been killed since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government's war against the Houthis, driving the insurgents from the Red Sea coastline but failing to retake Hodeidah.

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