May 1, 2017 / 9:30 AM / 4 months ago

U.N. rights chief warns against Saudi-led attack on Yemen port

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights attends the 34th session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017.Denis Balibouse/Files

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations is continuing to receive signals that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen could attack the key port of Hodeidah, causing humanitarian suffering and loss of life, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said on Monday.

A Saudi-led military coalition backing the internationally-recognised government in its war against the Houthi rebels has been preparing an assault on Hodeidah.

"The U.N. is concerned about the humanitarian repercussions of such an attack in terms of inflaming the humanitarian crisis even further, let alone our concerns about loss of civilian life were there to be a large-scale attack on port," Zeid told a news conference in Geneva.

Last week Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr repeated allegations that the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels were smuggling weapons into Yemen through Hodeidah and said his government preferred U.N. supervision of the port rather than an attack.

Reporting by Tom Miles, editing by Stephanie Nebehay

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