Saudi-led coalition in Yemen requests end to US refueling

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said early Saturday it had "requested cessation of inflight refueling" by the U.S. for its fighter jets after American officials said they would stop working amid growing anger over civilian casualties from the kingdom's airstrikes.

The decision by Americans to pull out also comes amid outrage by U.S. lawmakers from two political parties over the Oct. 2 slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

It was not immediately clear what impact the U.S. withdrawal from air refueling operations would have. 80% of their refueling operations, which crucially allow aircraft to fly longer than possible targets and eases the pressure on quick strikes.

Saudi Arabia has faced international criticism over its war campaign in Yemen, targeting Shiite rebels known as Houthis who hold the capital, Sanaa.

Saudi strikes have hit public markets, hospitals and other nonmilitary targets, killing scores of civilians. One such Saudi-led airstrike in August in Yemen's Saada province hit a bus and killed dozens of people, including schoolchildren wearing backpacks.

U.S. to the end of the year, said the end of the year before the end of the year, said the end to refueling would not stop American training and military assistance. The Post first reported the Trump administration's desire to end the refueling.

The Saudi statement, carried out early Saturday on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, did not acknowledge the Trump administration's decision.

"The statement read." "As a result, in the United States, the coalition has requested cessation of inflight refueling support for its operations in Yemen."

It also said it hoped upcoming United Nations sponsored talks "in a third country"

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Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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