On Sunday, July 1, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash announced that the UAE-backed pro-Yemeni-government military offensive on Al-Hudaydah had been paused. A pause in the fighting has been in effect since June 23 to explore the possibility of a UN-brokered unconditional Houthi withdrawal from Al-Hudaydah and its port, according to Gargash. Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam has denied that the Emirati-backed fighters have halted their military offensive. Additional fighting between pro-government fighters and Houthi militants is expected in the city in the coming weeks.
UN officials have stated that tens of thousands of people could be killed if the situation turns into a lengthy siege; the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has predicted that 200,000 people may be displaced by the fighting. Emirati officials have announced that they seek to gain control over the city's airport and seaport; the Emirati-backed fighters have reportedly gained control over the airport, but have not launched an offensive on the seaport because of the Houthis' heavy mining of the area.
Yemen is engaged in a complex and deadly conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. The Saudi-led coalition has carried out thousands of airstrikes in Yemen since its intervention began. Hundreds of Yemeni civilians have been killed in the strikes, which have hit schools, hospitals, and markets, in addition to Houthi militant positions and personnel. In total, more than 10,000 Yemenis have died in the fighting and some 3 million have been displaced.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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