On Thursday, August 2, the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on the Red Sea port city of Al-Hudaydah, killing at least 26 people and wounding 50 others. The airstrikes notably come after Houthi rebel fighters attacked two Saudi oil tankers in the Red Sea on July 25, and Saudi-led coalition forces resumed airstrikes on Al-Hudaydah and surrounding districts, including Zabid and Al-Tuhayta, on July 27 following a previous ceasefire agreement. Additional coalition airstrikes and ground-forces operations are expected in and around Al-Hudaydah over the coming days and weeks.
UN officials have stated that tens of thousands of people could be killed if the Saudi-led coalition lays a lengthy siege to Al-Hudaydah and prevents the import of humanitarian aid and commercial imports through its seaport, upon which 600,000 of the city's residents and around 28 million other Yemenis rely. 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.