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AFP
January 13, 2019

Clashes erupt in Hodeida

World

AFP
January 13, 2019

HODEIDA, Yemen: Clashes erupted between Huthi rebels and government forces in Yemen’s flashpoint port city of Hodeida on Saturday, dealing a new blow to a fragile truce, an AFP correspondent reported. Artillery and machine-gun exchanges rocked the southern part of Hodeida in early morning before tapering off later in day, the correspondent said.

The rebel-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 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 ceasefire 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 rebel and government forces.

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

Since the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in support of the government in March 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people and unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

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.

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