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Jul 29, 3:15 PM EDT

Saudi denies rights groups' claims it is blockading Yemen



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Saudi denies rights groups' claims it is blockading Yemen

SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- The Saudi-led coalition has disputed reports by rights groups that it is imposing a blockade on Yemen, saying it facilitates the passage of humanitarian aid without delay and in "record time."

In a Friday statement, the coalition says that the health situation in Yemen is at the top of its priorities. "The coalition forces give permits to all the relief and humanitarian ships, immediately, periodically, in record time, and without inspection, and to all the Yemeni ports."

The coalition has been backing the internationally-recognized government in its war against Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies.

International rights groups say Saudi is imposing a blockade, causing severe shortages of fuel and medical supplies in Yemen. The coalition blames the Houthis for taking-over the supplies and mismanaging ports.

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