Majority of locals in Yemen's Hodeida fled amid clashes

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on a highway on the eastern outskirts of Hodeida

The U.S. and United Kingdom, major arms suppliers to the Saudi coalition, have recently called for a cease-fire in Yemen and the launch of U.N. -led political talks to end the Saudi-Iran proxy war.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of defeating the Iran-aligned rebels and to restore the government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Hunt discussed the "latest developments in the region" with 82-year-old King Salman and later Monday held separate talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the monarch's son and heir apparent, the Saudi Press Agency said. The UN reported that just 60% of Yemen's monthly food requirement came through the ports of Hodeidah and Saleef in October.

Hodeida was hit on Monday night by what multiple sources said were two air strikes - the first targeting of the docks since government forces launched a major offensive to retake the port five months ago.

The Saudi-led coalition, supporting the Yemeni internationally-recognized government in the civil conflict with the Houthis, has agreed to allow the United Nations to evacuate up to 50 injured rebels to neighbouring Oman after the visit of UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the UK Foreign Office said.

"The human cost of war in Yemen is incalculable: with millions displaced, starvation and disease rife and years of bloodshed, the only solution is now a political decision to set aside arms and pursue peace", Hunt said ahead of his trip to the Gulf.

However, coalition spokesman, Colonel Turki al-Malki, said in Riyadh: "The operation is still ongoing".

The Huthis, who seized Hodeida in a 2014 takeover that included the capital, on Tuesday accused the government of the attacks on the port via their Al-Masirah TV. He reported three wounded guards.

The UN has warned an attack on the port would be "catastrophic" in a country where half the population is at risk of starvation.

Aid groups have urged both parties in the conflict to keep roads open to allow civilians to escape and the transportation of aid through the Hodeida port.

There have been worldwide outrage over the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican politicians had threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refuelling operations.

Hodeida port is under a near-total blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies, who accuse Iran of smuggling arms to the Huthis.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis announced last Friday that Washington would support the Saudi decision to use the Saudi-led coalition's own capabilities to conduct inflight refueling missions in Yemen, indicating that the U.S. side would stop refueling the coalition aircraft.

The United States, Britain and France - three of the main arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia - have also called for an end to almost four years of conflict, particularly in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.



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