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The United States rejected a request from the Emirati government this week to provide intelligence, reconnaissance aircraft and Navy minesweepers because of growing congressional opposition to the offensive, an Emirati official said Thursday.

The Houthis aligned with Iran launched a large military campaign and seized the capital Sanaa in late 2014, forcing Yemen's Hadi and his government to flee into the southern port city of Aden.

Aid groups say there have been no reports of shelling or bombing inside the city. They also accuse the Houthis of using the port to smuggle weapons through, something a United Nations panels of experts described in January as "unlikely" as incoming ships require United Nations permission and are subject to random searches.

"The situation is dire and we don't know how it will end", said Khadija, a teacher in Hodeidah.

The Saudi-led coalition's largest assault in the armed conflict with Yemen, Operation "Golden Victory", appears not to have gone as smoothly as possible after the USA denied a request from the United Arab Emirates to supply intelligence, minesweeping and surveillance assets during the invasion of the key port of al-Hudaydah.

"If they keep Hodeidah and its revenues and its strategic location, the war will last a long time and the suffering of the Yemeni people", Dr Gargash said.

Mr Griffiths is expected to brief the council on Monday, including on his proposals to restart negotiations to restore peace.

Council members reaffirmed "their full support" for Griffiths' efforts.

The violence has devastated Yemen's infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the United Nations to describe the situation as one of "the worst humanitarian disasters in modern times".

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A military official told AFP on Friday the government alliance had approached to within just two kilometres of Hodeida's worldwide airport, just inland from the port.

Saudi Arabia - Yemen's northern neighbor and Iran's principal rival in the region - soon intervened with a coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates and gets logistical support from the USA, seeking to reinstate Yemen's government.

Earlier this week, Hadi visited Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The mother of two chose to leave her village of Taif a few days ago, "during the last few days of the holy month of Ramadan".

"We are at a crossroads in the conflict in Yemen", he said. But that support could falter if the assault provokes the feared humanitarian catastrophe.

The Saudi-led coalition is trying to retake the port from Shiite rebels known as Houthis. A senior United Nations aid official was also to report on humanitarian operations.

Hodeida is considered a lifeline for the country's war-ravaged population.

He says it will be "impossible" for the coalition to capture Hodeida.

Neither Saudi and Emirati-backed government forces nor the Huthi rebels show any signs of backing down in the fight for Hodeida.

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The Saudi-led coalition has imposed an air, sea, and land embargo on Yemen since March 2015, aiming to dislodge the Houthis from cities they control, paralyzing trade and access to the country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Thursday that "such crimes will shatter the hopes for political endeavors and will add to the complexity of the situation". In a retaliatory operation, the Yemeni army fired a missile on positions of Saudi-backed mercenaries. The resolution includes restrictions that took effect on January 16, 2016, on transfers to or from Iran of nuclear and ballistic missile material as well as arms.

In a statement, the Houthis also reported air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on other parts of the country, which they said killed nine civilians, including seven in a strike on Saada province in the north. Reuters could not confirm the report.

A statement Thursday from the relief agency said as of Wednesday, there were "four vessels filled with food and fuel at berth" and another five vessels at anchorage. But a successful operation would require capturing a city of 600,000 people without inflicting damage that would destroy the port.

The fighting in a Yemeni port city is reportedly increasing, threatening aid shipments. Obaid Salem al-Zaabi told a news conference.

The officials declined to give death toll.

Two Saudi and UAE aid ships were in the waters off Hudaida; coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told Saudi state media.

Meanwhile, a Houthi attack on pro-Yemeni government forces south of the city killed 12 of their soldiers, military and medical sources told AFP. The port of Hodeida is a vital gateway to getting food and other aid to a significant number of these people.

It was the second day of an offensive to capture the strategic harbour which is the main entry point for food in a country teetering on the brink of starvation. That has raised warnings from aid agencies that Yemen's humanitarian disaster could deepen.

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Thousands remain besieged in the city and around the airport due to the fighting. In a statement, he held the U.S. and Britain responsible for the Saudi-backed attack on the vital port city.


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