UN agency urges all ships docking in Yemen's Red Sea ports to leave

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SANAA, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations agency on Monday informed all commercial ships docking in Yemen's Red Sea port cities of Hodeidah and Saleef to leave the ports immediately.

"We regret to inform you that due to the current security situation in Yemen including Yemen Red Sea ports, all vessels must immediately leave holding area (west of 042), anchorage and berth (Saleef and Hodeidah ports) and sail to any other port/position to ensure safety of crew, vessel and cargo," read the letter by the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) based in the Republic of Djibouti.

The UN agency also said it has suspended issuance of new clearances for all ships heading to Yemen and said the measure is "temporarily" until further notice.

The move came following a Saudi-led military coalition's resolution earlier the day to close all Yemen's air, land and Sea ports to stop what the coalition said the flow of arms to the Yemeni Houthi rebels from "Iran."

The coalition's decision came after Saturday ballistic missile fired from Houthi fighters toward Saudi capital Riyadh, which exploded north of King Khalid airport.

Meanwhile, the Houthis warned the coalition against any attempt to attack the ports, saying their forces were ready to defend the country, according to Houthi-controlled Saba news agency.

Saba also reported a surprise visit to Hodeidah port city by Houthi top official Saleh al-Sammad, the head of Houthi supreme political council, to inspect the readiness of Houthi fighters there.

UN aid agencies have warned that any fighting in the ports would increase the country's humanitarian catastrophe.

Saudi led a military coalition of 10 countries and intervened in Yemen's civil war in March 2015 to back the internationally recognized government of exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Iranian-allied Shiite Houthis who stormed the capital Sanaa and controlled much of the country's north.

The coalition has yet defeated the Yemeni rebels despite thousands of Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthis.

The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, and displaced more than 3 million others, according to UN agencies. Enditem

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