Arab coalition asks United Nations to help re-open Sanaa airport

Al-Qaiti accuses the coalition of denying Yemen

The UN has called Yemen the "largest humanitarian crisis in the world". The request was issued after several aid groups' call to have the airport reopened, stating that a year-long blockade was impeding humanitarian aid delivery and preventing travel of thousands of patients seeking treatment overseas.

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the coalition backing the government against Iran-backed Huthi rebels, said it "suffered a technical defect while returning from an operation in Yemen".

It said the airport remained closed "due to concerns for the safety of civilian travel and commercial flights, as well as the smuggling of weapons by the Houthis".

The armed Houthi movement and their foes in Yemen's civil war, the Saudi-led coalition, on Saturday gave conflicting accounts of a Houthi attempt to attack shipping in the Red Sea port of al-Mokha.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen asked the United Nations to help re-open Sana'a airport on Thursday, a day after an aid group said Yemenis were dying because they could not seek medical help overseas.

"[The airport] is not under United Nations control", Dujarric said on Friday. He called on the warring parties to allow humanitarian aid access and reopen the airport.

WAM said the helicopter crash happened in Yemen's southern Shabwa province where US airstrikes have targeted Yemen's local al-Qaida branch. Current death toll is more than 10.000 people, while humanitarian disaster escalated with a starvation and the cholera outbreak of more than 300.000 recorded cases of infection.

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The pilot made an emergency landing in a government-held area, "resulting in minor injuries to the crew".

The jihadists are thought to have moved farther south into neighbouring Abyan province.

Forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi wrested Aden and several southern provinces from the Houthis in the summer of 2015 but have struggled to impose stability and the government still operates mostly from exile in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Late on Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize victor Tawakkol Karman accused Houthi fighters and forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president of Yemen, of abducting her brother and two of his friends.

The MSF supplies cover only two months.

"I have no information on the incident, so I can not confirm or deny", he told Anadolu Agency.

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