Five killed as clashes erupt in Yemen’s Hodeida

Dubai:Clashes in Yemen’s Hodeida have left five fighters dead, medical and military sources said Monday, despite a ceasefire agreement between warring parties in the port city.

Fighting between Yemen’s armed rebels, known as the Huthis, and pro-government forces erupted late Sunday in the eastern part of the city, a military official told AFP.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a doctor at Hodeida’s main hospital said medics had received the bodies of three rebel fighters.

A doctor at a government-run field hospital in Hodeida said two loyalists had been killed in the hours-long clashes.

The Red Sea city of Hodeida last year emerged as the main frontline in the war. The city is home to Yemen’s most valuable port and has been controlled by the rebels since 2014.

In December, the rival sides agreed to a ceasefire in Hodeida under a deal brokered by the UN in Sweden — just weeks after forces loyal to the government were able to enter the rebel-held city.

Fighting in Hodeida, whose port serves as the country’s lifeline, has largely stopped since the ceasefire went into effect on December 18, but there have been intermittent clashes.

Both the government and the Huthis have been accused of violating the truce deal, while an agreed redeployment of forces has also stalled.

The Yemen conflict pits the Iran-linked Huthis against a regional pro-government coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which intervened in the conflict four years ago.

Since then the war has killed around 10,000 Yemenis, according to the World Health Organization, triggering what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Some rights groups say the toll could be much higher.