Arab Coalition requests USA to halt aircraft fuel supply in Yemen operations

Yemen forces push towards Hodeida as death toll mounts

Saudi Arabia leads a coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government there against Shia Houthi rebels who are backed by Riyadh's arch enemy Iran.

"We have decided that in the present situation we will not give new licenses for the export of defense material or multipurpose goods for military use to Saudi Arabia", Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement on Friday.

The move comes at a time of global outrage over the murder of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and after Democratic and Republican lawmakers threatened to take action in Congress next week over the refueling operations.

Almost 10,000 people have since been killed and the country now stands at the brink of starvation.

"I've been calling for this for over three years", said Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California.

"If the administration does not take immediate steps. we are prepared to take additional action when the Senate comes back into session", Mr.

The Pentagon was providing refueling capabilities for about 20 per cent of coalition planes flying sorties over Yemen.

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Aid groups warned of the plight of civilians in Yemen's contested Hodeida where casualties are mounting as a Saudi-led coalition is fighting to take the port city from the country's Shiite rebels.

For its part, the Yemeni government warned from Houthi plots to bomb government buildings and national institutions like the Port of Hodeidah, and terrorist plans of targeting worldwide maritime trade navigation at Bab al-Mandab and the south of the Red Sea, and bombing Safer Oil Tank at Ras Isa Port, which contains almost a million barrel of crude oil and can cause environment and economic catastrophe to Yemen and the regional countries.

"The US and the Coalition are planning to collaborate on building up legitimate Yemeni forces to defend the Yemeni people, secure their country's borders, and contribute to counter Al Qaeda and ISIS [Daesh] efforts in Yemen and the region", Mattis said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

"The decision was taken after an overall assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the region, and the unpredictable situation in Yemen", the foreign ministry said.

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said he supported Saudi Arabia's "decision" after the official Saudi Press Agency said the coalition asked for the "cessation of inflight refueling support" from the United States. He told them cutting off support could jeopardize cooperation on counter-terrorism and reduce American influence with Saudi Arabia.

The move to halt refuelling support comes amid new U.S. efforts to force an end to the conflict described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The clashes come as the United Nations pushes to restart negotiations between the warring parties, after planned talks in Geneva collapsed in September before they even began.

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