UAE Says Battle for Hodeida Meant to End Wider Yemen War

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks to journalists in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Monday, June 18, 2018. (AP)

Dubai - A senior official in the United Arab Emirates said Monday that the battle for Yemen's port city of Hodeida is aimed at forcing Shiite rebels to negotiate an end to the three-year-long war.

Anwar Gargash, the minister of state for foreign affairs, told reporters in Dubai that the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, have as many as 3,000 fighters around the Red Sea port city.

He said the Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE, has "numerical superiority" over the Houthis, without elaborating.

He said France offered a mine-sweeping vessel, but was not involved in the offensive.

The campaign for Hodeida began Wednesday. Aid groups fear fighting could halt crucial food imports in a nation already on the brink of famine.