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Yemen's warring parties trade blame for breaching Hodeida ceasefire Open in fullscreen

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Yemen's warring parties trade blame for breaching Hodeida ceasefire

The ceasefire was implemented at midnight on Tuesday [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 December, 2018

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The Houthi rebels said Saudi-led coalition shelling hit several sites in Hodeida while pro-government sources said the rebels fired mortar bombs and rockets at a hospital.
Yemen’s warring factions have traded accusations over a ceasefire breach in Hodeida, after reports confirmed clashes in the crucial Red Sea port city.

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV blamed the Saudi-led coalition for violating the truce which was mediated by the United Nations as part of crucial peace talks in Sweden.

The Houthi rebels said Saudi-led coalition shelling hit several sites in Hodeida, including some east of the airport, while pro-government sources said the rebels fired mortar bombs and rockets at the May 22 hospital in the eastern suburbs, according to the United Arab Emirates news agency WAM.

Residents in Yemen's main port city reported hearing four blasts on Tuesday - the first day of a UN-brokered ceasefire between the rebels and Saudi-backed government forces.

Hodeida residents who spoke to Reuters reported hearing what sounded like artillery shelling on the eastern and southern outskirts of the key port city.

The Saudi-led coalition official told AFP on Monday that the agreement stipulated the rebels should withdraw from all ports in Hodeida by midnight on 31 December and that both pro-government forces and Houthis pull out of the city completely by midnight on 7 January.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that "much worse" lay in store for Yemen in 2019 unless the peace deal is implemented.

The Sweden talks marked the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people - though rights groups say the actual figure is five times higher.

Yemen's government and the Houthi rebels have agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates.

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