ADEN (Reuters) - Yemen’s Sanaa airport, damaged in an air strike by a Saudi-led coalition last week, has been repaired and is ready to receive international flights, the Houthi-led government which runs the capital city said on Tuesday.
The Nov. 14 raid destroyed radio navigation equipment at the airport and in effect put the facility out of service.
The attack happened after the coalition banned naval, air and land transportation to Yemen following a missile fired by the Houthis that was shot down over the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The transport minister in the Houthi-run government, Zakariya al-Shami, said that technical civil aviation teams had completed implementation of technical alternatives necessary to restore services to the airport”.
“It is ready to receive international flights,” Shami said, according to Houthi-controlled news agency Saba.
The airport had been mainly used by international relief agencies, including U.N. staff, using United Nations flights to Sanaa.
The coalition has said that all Yemeni land crossings, air and sea ports would remain closed until assurances are made that no weapons can reach the Houthis.
The coalition accuses Iran of smuggling weapons, including the missile fired towards Riyadh airport on Nov. 4, to the Houthis through Yemeni ports controlled by the group. Iran denies sending any weapons to the Houthis.
The closure of Yemen’s ports, including the main Hodeidah port where most of the country’s food supplies enter, has raised alarm around the world.
The European Union on Tuesday urged the Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen’s ports and airports.
“While fully recognizing the serious security threat incoming from Yemen, it is our firm belief that hindering vital humanitarian access to the Yemeni population that is already on the brink of famine and subject to a spreading cholera outbreak will not effectively address these security concerns,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.
Writing by Sami Aboudi, Editing by William Maclean
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