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

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-03 05:29:38|Editor: yan
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ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Fighters of the Houthi group launched a heavy shelling against pro-government military sites in Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Saturday evening, a military official told Xinhua.

Several government-controlled sites in Hays district of Hodeidah were targeted with mortar and artillery shells, causing injuries among the troops, said the local military official based in the city on condition of anonymity.

He said that more than 10 soldiers were injured as a result of the random Houthi shelling carried out against their military locations and training camps.

The pro-government forces did not respond to the Houthi-fired shells, and informed the United Nations cease-fire monitoring team of the rebels' violations in Hodeidah, he added.

Meanwhile, government sources confirmed to Xinhua that the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) started preparations to hold its meetings on a ship due to the tense security situation in Hodeidah.

Earlier in the day, Yemen's government blamed the Houthi rebels of committing persistent and deliberate violations to Sweden's agreement on Hodeidah.

In a statement revealed by the state-run Saba news agency, the government said that until now, 970 Houthi cease-fire breaches have occurred in Hodeidah, killing 71 people and wounding 534 in 30 days.

The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthi rebels overtook the capital Sanaa and forced the government into exile to Saudi Arabia. Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, backing the government, has been fighting the Houthis.

The security situation was further exacerbated after the coalition in June 2018 launched an operation to retake rebel-held Hodeidah, a strategic port city that had been handling some 70 percent of Yemen's imports of food.

The fighting has spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis and brought the poorest Arab country to the brink of famine.

Under the UN auspices, the warring parties reached a deal in Sweden in December 2018, which included a governorate-wide cease-fire of Hodeidah and the formation of the RCC to monitor withdrawal of troops by both the government and the Houthis in the area.

Shortly after, the UN Security Council authorized an advance team for 30 days to monitor and support the implementation of the deal.

Earlier in January, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to establish a UN political mission for an initial period of six months to support the Hodeidah agreement.