DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen announced on Saturday that it had "called for the cessation of air refueling" by the United States for its fighter planes, after US officials announced it. that they would end the operations while air strikes the kingdom.
The Americans' decision to withdraw is also due to the indignation of US lawmakers from both political parties after the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The impact of the withdrawal of in-flight refueling operations from the United States was not immediately understood. US officials had previously said that Saudi forces now provide about 80 percent of their refueling operations, allowing aircraft to make longer sorties over potential targets and to mitigate the threat. pressure on rapid strikes.
Despite this fueling support, Saudi Arabia has faced international criticism of its campaign of air strikes in the coalition war in Yemen targeting Shiite rebels known as Houthis who control the capital. , Sanaa.
Saudi strikes hit government procurement, hospitals and other non-military targets, killing many civilians. A Saudi-led air strike in Sa'ada province, Yemen, in August hit a bus and killed dozens of people, including schoolchildren carrying backpacks.
US officials said Friday that the end of refueling would not prevent US training and military assistance. The Post first reported the Trump Administration's desire to stop refueling.
The Saudi statement adopted Saturday by the state-run Saudi news agency, did not acknowledge the Trump administration's decision.
"The kingdom and the coalition have recently increased their ability to independently carry out air refueling in Yemen," the statement said. "As a result, in consultation with the United States, the coalition has called for the cessation of air-to-air refueling for its operations in Yemen."
He also said that he hoped the forthcoming United Nations-sponsored "third country" negotiations would help end the war.
Associated Press editors Lolita Baldor and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.
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