Clashes erupted between Houthi fighter and forces loyal to the former government in Yemen’s flashpoint port city of Hodeida on Saturday, dealing a new blow to a fragile truce.
Artillery and machine-gun exchanges rocked the southern part of Hodeida in early morning before tapering off later in day, AFP reported.
The Houthi-held port city, which is a lifeline for the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid, was for months the main front line in the Yemeni conflict after former government forces supported by Saudi Arabia and its allies launched an offensive to capture it in June.
But last month the warring parties agreed a cease-fire for Hodeida during UN-sponsored talks in Sweden.
The United Nations has said the truce has largely held since it came into force on December 18 but there have been delays in the agreed pullback of Houthis and former government forces.
The Houthis control most of Hodeida while former government forces are deployed on its southern and eastern outskirts.
Since the Saudi-led military coalition invaded Yemen in support of the former government in March 2015, the conflict has killed tens of thousands and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
UN aid officials say 80 percent of the population – 24 million people – are in need of aid and nearly 10 million are just one step away from famine.
UN aid coordinator Lise Grande visited Hodeida on Friday and met local officials, the head of Yemen’s National Authority for the Administration and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Jaber al-Razahi, said.
“The reason for the visit of UN humanitarian coordinator Lisa Grande to Hodeida is to see the humanitarian situation... and ensure the arrival of aid through the port,” Razahi said.
Clashes erupt in Yemen’s Hodeida despite truce