Groups: Yemen airport closure 'death sentence' for thousands

Groups: Yemen airport closure 'death sentence' for thousands
Houthi rebel fighters fire their weapons in the air as they take off to a battlefront following a gathering aimed at mobilizing more fighters for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Houthis, who drove out the internationally recognized government. Months later, in March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched its air campaign to prevent the rebels from overrunning the country's south. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

CAIRO (AP) — Aid groups have slammed the Saudi-led coalition for its closure of the airport in Yemen’s capital, saying it’s prevented thousands of sick civilians from traveling abroad for urgent medical treatment.

The Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE say the Sanaa airport’s three-year closure has amounted to a “death sentence” for many sick Yemenis.

They appealed late Monday on Yemen’s warring parties to come to an agreement to reopen the airport for commercial flights to “alleviate humanitarian suffering caused by the closure.”

The Saudi-led coalition, backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government, has been at war with the rebels, known as Houthis, since 2015, and has imposed a blockade on ports that supply Houthi-controlled areas.

Mohammed Abdi, the NRC’s director in Yemen, says there’s “no justification” for standing in the way of life-saving treatment.