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Houthi official says U.S. and UK fly spy drones over Hodeidah 'for hours'


A Houthi official said on Saturday that U.S. and UK forces flew spy drones "for hours" over the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, where conflicting reports of a new air strike emerged.

Ali Ahmed Kashar, the Houthi deputy governor of Hodeidah, told Chinese media agency Xinhua that his group saw spy drones over the city from early morning to evening. He also denied reports from local and international media about new air strikes on Houthi sites in Hodeidah.

Earlier, local media said a navy base near the port was hit by U.S.-led coalition planes. Residents said they heard loud explosions and ambulance sirens and the Houthis deployed heavily in Hodeidah neighborhoods after the blast.

The Houthi official made no comments on the explosions.

The Houthis have reportedly used the Ras Kutheb base to attack commercial and military ships in the vital maritime region.

Hodeidah, on the Red Sea coast, is a strategic city with one of Yemen's largest ports. The Houthis have controlled Hodeidah since 2014, and the port is a lifeline for humanitarian aid and commercial supplies entering Yemen.

Earlier on Saturday, United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg urged all parties to show restraint amid a dangerous escalation in regional tensions.

On Friday, the U.S. and the UK launched strikes on Houthi targets in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and other areas. The strikes were in response to the Houthis' attacks in the Red Sea on what they called "Israeli-linked ships" to pressure Israel to stop its assaults in the Gaza Strip.

A civil war in Yemen has raged since 2015, causing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, with millions facing famine.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: A man lifts a mock jet craft as he participates in a protest against aerial attacks launched by the U.S. and the UK in Sanaa, Yemen, January 12, 2024. /CFP)

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