Fresh Hodeida fighting threatens Yemen's fragile ceasefire

Fresh Hodeida fighting threatens Yemen's fragile ceasefire
2 min read
25 January, 2019
Clashes involving heavy weapons broke out in and around Hodeida on Thursday, just a day after a UN envoy's visit to try and salvage a UN-brokered truce.

Heavy fighting broke out between government-allied troops and Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in and around Yemen's contested port city of Hodeida, security officials said.

Thursday's fighting, which went on for about three hours, is thought to be the biggest breach yet of a fragile ceasefire in the city reached in UN-sponsored talks in Sweden last month.

Officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said the two sides used heavy weapons, including mortars, and were bringing in reinforcements.

The fighting took place one day after UN Envoy Martin Griffiths left Yemen after a two-day visit in which he sought to salvage the Hodeida truce, which includes the withdrawal of forces from the Red Sea port city.

The Houthis control most of Hodeida, while government forces are deployed on its southern and eastern outskirts.

The Yemen conflict has killed at least 10,000 people since a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the beleaguered government in March 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

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

The war has pushed 14 million Yemenis to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.