Houthis ban Hodeidah civilians from displacement

Houthis ban Hodeidah civilians from displacement

Houthis have prevented hundreds of civilians in the western Yemen city of Hodeidah from moving to the government-held outskirts as the army and the rebels are expected to engage in a showdown over the vital port city.

Eyewitnesses told al-Sharq al-Awsat daily that the Houthi gunmen, prevented civilians from moving to government-held parts of the province for the second day in a row.

Local people said the Islamist rebels want  to entrap civilians to use them as human shields.

The Arab-backed Yemeni army is preparing for a showdown with the militants to end what it says the Houthis' use of the Hodeidah port for smuggling in Iranian-made arms and threatening international shipping.  

In what analysts described as an implicit threat and willingness by the extremists to flatten the whole city, Houthi leader Hassan Zayd posted in his faebook page: "There will be not city left for anyone to live or any party to celebrate."  

As a Sports Minister in the Houthis' self-proclaimed government Hassan Zayd suggested in a post in late 2017 to close all schools and send school boys to fight. "What if the schools close for a year and all the students and their teachers go to military (training camps)? Won't we be able to supply the warfronts with hundreds of thousands of fighters and be able to fully win the battle?" he inquired.

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