Houthi rebels shell gov't-controlled factories in Yemen's Hodeidah

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-31 04:58:51|Editor: yan
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ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Fighters of the Shiite Houthi group shelled factories controlled by the government forces in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday, a military official told Xinhua.

"Mortar shells fired by Houthi rebels randomly landed on factories seized by government forces in the eastern part of Hodeidah, causing material damages at the scene," a local military official said on condition of anonymity.

More than nine mortar shells targeted government forces positioned in and around Ikhwan Thabet factories for the fourth time in Hodeidah, the official said.

He said that government-controlled sites are frequently targeted by Houthi-fired shells in various areas of Hodeidah province, causing casualties among soldiers and civilians living in neighboring areas.

Meanwhile, the Houthi-affiliated Masirah television network reported that warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition launched ten airstrikes against citizens' farms in Jarahi district of Hodeidah province.

Sources close to the Houthi group blamed the government forces for escalating the situation militarily in Hodeidah, threatening the ongoing cease-fire in the turbulent city.

The recent escalation comes just one day after the a short visit by the United Nations Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths who arrived in the Houthi-controlled city of Hodeidah in an attempt to closely oversee the cease-fire implementation there.

Patrick Cammaert, head of the UN cease-fire monitoring team and also a retired Dutch general, and his team arrived in war-torn Hodeidah last month to oversee the cease-fire deal reached between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels in Sweden last December.

However, the fragile cease-fire was breached multiple times by both sides despite presence of the UN cease-fire monitoring team.

The cease-fire deal signed between the two warring rivals in Sweden demands full withdrawal of all armed groups from Hodeidah and its strategic seaports.

According to the deal, the UN will manage the port and supervise the re-deployment of neutral forces to prevent military escalation, while local forces will help maintain law and order in Hodeidah.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi rebels overtook the capital Sanaa and toppled the government of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.

The war has so far killed more than 10,000 people and created a serious humanitarian crisis.