A Hodeidah factory allegedly targeted by Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in July. Photo: Abdo Hyder/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia will no longer receive aerial refueling assistance from the U.S. in Yemen, according to statements released by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday.

The big picture: Pressure has been building on the U.S.-Saudi relationship since the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the increased attention on the atrocities taking place in Yemen. The move comes as the U.N. envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths is working to gather the warring parties in Yemen for peace talks, which Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have thrown their support behind.

Saudi Arabia:

"Recently the Kingdom and the Coalition has increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refueling in Yemen. As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition has requested cessation of inflight refueling support for it's operations in Yemen. ‏The Coalition Command expresses its hope that the upcoming UN sponsored negotiations in a third country, will lead to a negotiated settlement in accordance to UNSCR 2216 and see an end to the aggression by the Iranian backed Houthi militias' against the Yemeni people and countries in the region..."

Secretary Mattis:

"We support the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after consultations with the U.S. Government, to use the Coalition’s own military capabilities to conduct inflight refueling in support of its operations in Yemen. We are all focused on supporting resolution of the conflict, led by UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths. ... The U.S. will also continue working with the Coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country."

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.
Updated 20 mins ago - World

Azar to lead delegation to Taiwan in first high-level U.S. visit in decades

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.