The U.S.-backed Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which has moved into its next phase codenamed “Operation Restoring Hope,” has been marked by continued battles and new airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthi jihadists.
The Saudi-led coalition continues to seek as its goal the reinstallation of internationally-recognized president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has been living in exile in Riyadh.
On Wednesday, thousands of Houthi militants and their supporters marched in protest of the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen.
“We took to the street to condemn shelling the civilians, bombarding the residential areas,” a Houthi loyalist told Al Jazeera. “We are telling them, ‘shame on you’. Why don’t you face us on the ground? Why don’t you fight like men? We will always face you as the Yemenis are solid like rocks,” he added.
There have also been reports of clashes on the ground between pro-Hadi and opposition forces in the port city of Aden and Lahj, the capital of Huta.
Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, said that the Houthis have been moving on three separate fronts in an attempt to takeover Aden. He said that the Saudi military would respond on behalf of “the legitimate government of Yemen to prevent [Aden’s overthrow from] happening.”
Since March 19, 1,080 people have been killed and another 4,352 injured as a result of the sectarian violence, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.
The United Nations has nominated a new special envoy to Yemen, who will attempt to negotiate a ceasefire between the warring parties, the Associated Press reported. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was nominated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take the Yemen post. He is currently the UN’s Ebola chief.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Yemen said that there are 7.9 million children (60% of the total population) in the country in need of humanitarian assistance.