Yemen's Aden airport reopens

A Saudi military plane landed Wednesday in Yemen's second city of Aden where the airport reopened after four months of fighting, the transport minister said.

"This is the beginning of operations at the airport," Badr Basalma told reporters at the site, which Saudi-backed loyalists recaptured last week following fierce clashes with Shiite rebels and their allies.

Planes carrying relief supplies are expected to land in the next two days, Basalma said without elaborating on the cargo of the plane that touched down on Wednesday.

Basalma told journalists Monday that a UAE technical team had arrived to repair the tower and passenger terminal at Aden international airport, heavily damaged in clashes

Forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes, pushed the Huthi rebels and renegade troops out of most of Aden last week.

Aden airport was among the first areas to be recaptured by the loyalists, who are benefiting from the support of forces freshly trained and equipped by the coalition.

The airport closed in late March, when rebels advanced on the city where Hadi took refuge after escaping house arrest under the rebels in Sanaa. He then fled to Saudi Arabia.

The rebels and allied forces loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh overran Sanaa in September, and then advanced into several other regions.

On Tuesday, a UN ship docked in Aden carrying much-needed relief supplies, the first UN vessel to reach the city in four months. Another ship sent by the UAE also delivered medical aid.

A humanitarian ceasefire declared by the United Nations earlier this month failed to take hold. The United Nations warned then that the impoverished country was just "one step away from famine".

More than 21.1 million people -- over 80 percent of Yemen's population -- need aid, with 13 million facing food shortages, according to the UN.

It says the conflict has killed more than 3,640 people, around half of them civilians, since late March.

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