Air strikes, clashes hit Yemen's Hodeida despite ceasefire
December 16 2018 11:42 AM
Yemeni pro-government forces steer their cars in the Houthi-held Red Sea port city of Hodeidah
Yemeni pro-government forces steer their cars in the Houthi-held Red Sea port city of Hodeidah yesterday

AFP/Dubai

Air strikes and fierce clashes shook the outskirts of Yemen's rebel-held port city of Hodeidah overnight, pro-government sources and residents said Sunday, despite a UN-brokered ceasefire.
At least 29 fighters, including 22 Houthi rebels, were killed on Saturday night in clashes and air strikes in Hodeidah province, a pro-government military source told AFP.
He added that seven rebels were captured during an attack on Al-Durayhimi district, which lies about 20 kilometres south of Hodeidah city.
A resident of the city reached by telephone said that the clashes were "fierce" and the sounds of jets could be heard throughout the night until about 5 am (0200 GMT) on Sunday. 
The fighting comes days after a UN-backed ceasefire came into effect, part of a hard-won accord agreed in Sweden between Yemen's warring sides.
The truce between Yemeni government forces, backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, and the Houthi rebels was due to be followed by the withdrawal within days of fighters on both sides.
In comments published Saturday on the rebel-run Saba news agency, the Houthis accused pro-government forces of shelling residential neighbourhoods in Hodeidah city.
Thursday's ceasefire accord has been seen as the most significant step towards ending the devastating conflict in Yemen, where more than 14 million people are on the brink of famine. 
A prisoner swap involving some 15,000 detainees is planned and a "mutual understanding" has been struck to facilitate aid deliveries to Yemen's third city Taiz -- under control of loyalists but besieged by rebels.
The two sides also agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.
The UN says the conflict has killed some 10,000 people and unleashed the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Human rights groups say the death toll could be five times as high.

Last updated: December 16 2018 12:03 PM


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