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Clashes in Yemen's Hodeida ahead of UN truce team meeting Open in fullscreen

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Clashes in Yemen's Hodeida ahead of UN truce team meeting

The UN observers are expected to meet on Wednesday [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 December, 2018

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The sound of heavy artillery could be heard to the east of the Red Sea city as government forces and Houthi rebels exchanged gunfire.
Sporadic clashes erupted in Yemen's flashpoint city of Hodeida, an AFP correspondent said on Wednesday, as a UN-led truce monitoring team was scheduled to convene for the first time.

The sound of heavy artillery could be heard to the east of the Red Sea city as government forces - backed by a Saudi-led coalition - and Houthi rebels exchanged gunfire, in the latest breach of the ceasefire. The clashes stopped after a few hours.

A truce in Hodeida and its surroundings went into effect on December 18 but has remained shaky, with the two sides accusing each other of violations. 

On Tuesday, an official for the Saudi-led alliance said that 10 pro-government troops have been killed since the ceasefire went into force, accusing the Houthis of 183 violations. 

The rebels, in turn, said on the same day that they have recorded at least 31 violations in the past 24 hours by pro-government troops. 

Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert - who arrived in Hodeida on Sunday - is heading a joint committee including members of the government and the Houthis to monitor the truce.

According to the United Nations, Cammaert will chair a meeting of the joint committee on Wednesday.

Yemen's warring sides agreed on the ceasefire to halt a devastating offensive by government forces and the coalition against rebel-held Hodeida at peace talks in Sweden this month.

The UN monitoring team aims to secure the functioning of the lifeline port of Hodeida and supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.

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.

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

Agencies contributed to this report.

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