United States to end refuelling of Saudi-coalition aircraft in Yemen war

Trump blames Yemen school bus bombing on Saudis not knowing how to use U.S.-supplied weapons

Trump blames Yemen school bus bombing on Saudis not knowing how to use U.S.-supplied weapons

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen is opting to refuel its aircraft independently going forward, ending a controversial collaboration with USA military assets.

"As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition has requested the cessation of inflight refuelling support for its operations in Yemen", it said in a statement.

Worldwide criticism over United States support for Saudi Arabia grew further following the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

News of the halt to USA refueling operations was swiftly dismissed by the Houthis as a media ploy that came in response to worldwide pressure on Washington and Riyadh over the Yemen war.

The Saudi-led blockade of the port city of Hodeidah threatens to make things worse, as it is the entry point for most of the country's food aid and medical supplies.

Members of Congress have been calling for the administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other action.

The pressure has grown stronger after the Democrats took Congress' House of Representatives in the midterm elections on Tuesday.

The Saudi acknowledgement, and later US comments, appeared aimed at suggesting the kingdom was behind the decision.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington supported the Saudi decision.

Anti-war groups hailed the decision as a victory and called for the U.S.to go further in halting support for the campaign.

However, a halt to refuelling could have little practical effect on the conflict, seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

U.S. officials told Reuters only a fifth of Saudi-led coalition aircraft require in-air refuelling from the United States. He said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were taking adequate measures to minimize civilian deaths.

The coalition has come under heavy criticism for its relentless airstrikes since 2015, which United Nations experts say have caused the majority of the estimated 10,000 civilian deaths in the conflict and could constitute a war crime.

The United States and Britain late last month called for a ceasefire in Yemen to support U.N. -led efforts to end the almost four-year long war that has killed more than 10,000 people and triggered the world's most urgent humanitarian crisis.

Doctors Without Borders reported an influx of wounded civilians in recent days, with 24 wounded, including women and children from Hudaida, with mostly blast and gunshot injuries.

Mattis in August noted that US support was conditioned on a Saudi commitment to doing "everything humanly possible" to avoid any loss of innocent life and Riyadh supporting a United Nations -brokered peace process to end the civil war.

In the last month, the UAE has mounted an all-out offensive to capture the critical Yemeni port of Hodeida.

The conflict in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis who toppled the internationally recognised government. Human rights groups have found fragments of American-made munitions after several of these strikes.

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