- The Red Sea port is a lifeline for eight million Yemenis, handling most of the country’s commercial imports and aid supplies
- Riyadh says the Houthis use Hodeidah to smuggle Iranian-made arms into Yemen, accusations denied by the group and Tehran
ADEN: Clashes between troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-aligned Houthis intensified near Yemen’s Hodeidah over the weekend as the United Nations tries to negotiate a cease-fire to avert a possible assault on the main port city, military sources said.
The Red Sea port is a lifeline for eight million Yemenis, handling most of the country’s commercial imports and aid supplies.
Heavy fighting erupted on Friday and Saturday in Al-Durayhmi, a rural area where Emirati-led troops are now 10 km (6 miles) south of Hodeidah, and in Bayt Al-Faqih, 35 km from the city, local military sources said. Coalition warplanes and warships launched strikes targeting the Houthis, they added.
A spokesman for the Western-backed alliance of mostly Gulf states did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
UN Yemen mediator Martin Griffiths has been holding talks with the Houthis to hand over control of the port to the United Nations, Yemeni political sources have said.
A broader UN peace plan calls on the Houthis to give up their missiles in return for an end to a coalition campaign and a transitional governance deal, according to a draft document and sources.
Previous UN efforts have failed to end the more than three-year-old conflict which pits the Houthis, who seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, against other Yemeni forces backed by the alliance loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Three civilians were killed in the south of Saudi Arabia from a missile launched from Yemen, state media reported on Saturday night, the latest in a series of ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis into the kingdom.
Riyadh says the Houthis use Hodeidah to smuggle Iranian-made arms into Yemen, accusations denied by the group and Tehran.
Yemeni army colonel shot dead in Taiz
Yemeni security officials say gunmen shot dead a pro-government army colonel in the southwestern city of Taiz.
They say Col. Radwan el-Wassabi was shot dead and at least four of his guards were wounded late Saturday in central Taiz. The city is split between government and rebel control. It was unclear who was behind the shooting.