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The strike coincides with the advance of coalition-backed Yemeni forces on the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida, the main conduit for humanitarian supplies into a country teetering on the brink of starvation.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief media.

The Saudis and UAE believe that seizing Hodeidah will put both military and economic pressure on the Houthis to reenter peace talks, as well as reduce the militants' ability to attack Saudi Arabia.

Around 70 per cent of Yemen's imports, including the vast majority of its food, comes through Hodeidah and the port is described as the country's "lifeline".

He also announced that humanitarian shipment permits were being granted regularly, and that humanitarian aid has been flowing continuously into all parts of Yemen. "However despite these actions, a military assault now looks imminent", Dfid said in an email to aid groups.

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"While the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies are reconfiguring their presence it's also our planned intention though to stay and deliver".

The Western diplomat said there were "a couple of last ditch attempts" to try to see whether there were any options to de-escalate, including a plan to "see some sort of a temporary ceasefire", but that would involve the Houthis putting their weapons down or potentially even moving out of the port. "We are working with very largely numbers of Yemeni organizations and individuals". "It is essential for him to be given the time that he needs to facilitate a negotiated solution that avoids conflict in the city and we support his efforts to do so".

The United Nations warned Friday that a military attack or siege on Hodeida would affect hundreds of thousands of civilians. "I hope that it will be possible to avoid a battle for Hudeida", Guterres said.

During the closed session, Griffiths was to brief council members by video-conference from Amman along with United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock.

Following the closed-door meeting, Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who is council president this month, called for de-escalation and said the top UN body would be "closely" following developments. He confirmed that the "Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen" condemns the threats the Houthi Militia pose on the lives of civilians and global relief workers in Yemen.