RIYADH – A Saudi-led alliance has lifted a blockade of two key airports in Yemen, broadcaster Al Arabiya reported, amid warnings that millions in the war-torn country could starve without deliveries of food aid.
Earlier this week, the alliance had closed all air, land and sea ports in Yemen to stem the alleged flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile fired towards on the capital Riyadh it blamed on Tehran.
“The coalition re-opened Aden and Seiyoun airports,” said Murad al-Halimi, the transport minister of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, according to Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya. He added that scheduled flights by national carrier Yemeni Airways would resume on Sunday.
The coalition, however, continues to block traffic at the main airport in the rebel-held capital Sana’a.
The United Nations and several humanitarian groups this week warned that millions could die in Yemen from famine if the blockade, which includes relief aid, was not lifted.
More than two and a half years of war has killed at least 10,000 people and unleashed famine and disease in the already impoverished country.
The coalition reopened the al Wadea border crossing linking Saudi Arabia with territory in eastern Yemen on Thursday.
Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the government and the rebels in late 2014.
The conflict has created a humanitarian catastrophe in the country.
Aid groups say 17 million people of Yemen’s 27 million population suffer from food insecurity.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and Sunni allies started an air campaign against the Houthis after they began advancing on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the internationally recognised government.
Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels will give its rival Iran a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.