First commercial flight in six years leaves rebel-held Yemen capital

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SANAA: The first marketable flight in nearly six times took off from Yemen’s revolutionary- held capital on Monday, a major step forward in a peace process that has handed rare relief from conflict.

The Yemenia aeroplane carrying 126 passengers, including sanitarium cases demanding treatment abroad and their cousins, took off from Sanaa for the Jordanian capital Amman just after 9 am (0600 GMT).

Before take-off, the aeroplane with red-and-blue tail outfit dragged through an honour guard of two fire exchanges scattering spurts of water. It landed in Amman before 0900 GMT.

Sanaa’s field has been closed to marketable business since August 2016 because of air strikes by the Saudi- led military coalition, who are fighting Iran- backed Houthi revolutionists.

“ I ’m so happy with the opening of Sanaa field,” said Lutfiyah, a wheelchair-bound passenger who didn’t want to give her full name. “ Moment is a day of festivity, and I hope that it remains open.”

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been destroyed with war since the coalition stepped in to support the government in 2015, a time after the Houthis seized control of the capital.

According to UN numbers, further than people have failed in the violence and millions have been displaced, creating the world’s worst philanthropic extremity.

But a armistice has been in place since April 2, coinciding with the launch of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan.

Five days after it took effect, Yemen’s Saudi- grounded chairman handed his powers to a leadership council assigned with holding peace addresses with the revolutionists.

Continuing breakouts from Sanaa, working to renew roads to the revolutionary- besieged megacity of Taez and allowing energy tankers into the Houthi- held harborage of Hodeida — a lifeline for Yemen — were all part of the armistice agreement.

UN special envoy Hans Grundberg called Monday’s flight an “ important and long- awaited step”. The agreement provides for two return breakouts to Amman and Cairo.

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