SANAA, Newborn Yemeni conjoined twins whose

plight sparked a plea for urgent medical treatment overseas died in Sanaa

Saturday, rebels in the blockaded capital said.

Abdelkhaleq and Abdelrahim were born outside Sanaa around two weeks agoand shared a kidney and a pair of legs but had separate hearts and lungs.

The head of paediatrics at Sanaa's Al-Thawra hospital, Dr Faisal al-

Babili, said his department lacked the facilities to treat or separate the

newborn boys and appealed on Wednesday for help from abroad.

Houthi rebels, who have been fighting the Saudi-backed government since

2014, blamed a Riyadh-led military coalition for the deaths after refusing

to open Sanaa airport to allow them to get treatment, according to the

rebels' media statement on Saturday.

Late on Wednesday, the head of Saudi Arabia's King Salman Aid and Relief

Centre, Abdullah al-Rabeeah, said he had a team that was prepared to treat

them.

Rebel-held areas of Yemen have been under blockade by a Saudi-led military coalition since it intervened in support of the beleaguered government in March 2015.

Health services have collapsed as the conflict has ground on and most

hospitals are not equipped to provide specialist treatment for rare

conditions.

Bringing patients out for treatment poses enormous logistical challenges.

Mediators are pushing for the reopening of Sanaa international airport.

The government accuses the rebels of smuggling arms through the airport

and Hodeida � a rebel-held port city vital to the delivery of humanitarian

aid. The Saudi-led coalition has severely restricted flights to and from

Sanaa and shipments through Hodeida.

Since 2015, some 10,000 people have been killed and more than 60,000

wounded in the conflict, most of them civilians, according to the World

Health Organization.

Human rights groups say the real figure could be five times as high.

Source: NAM News Network

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