ADEN, Yemen, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Armed confrontations intensified between Yemen's government forces and the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Saturday, causing partial destruction of a commercial institution in the city.
Local residents told Xinhua that the confrontations took place in various areas of Hodeidah including the 50th Street and Yemen Mobile roundabout, causing casualties from both warring sides.
The local sources said heavy weapons and artillery shelling were used during the hours of confrontations.
A number of mortar shells landed on residential neighborhoods, causing a huge fire that engulfed a commercial institution, they added.
The National Resistance Forces (NRF), a faction fighting alongside the government forces, revealed that it foiled the biggest Houthi attempt to infiltrate into government-controlled areas in Hodeidah.
"In a new military escalation, the Houthi militias launched in the early hours of Saturday the biggest infiltration attempt against the government-controlled areas, but it was aborted successfully," said an NRF statement.
"The Houthi rebels bombed the commercial complex of Ikhwan Thabet with a barrage of mortar shells that caused a huge fire inside the private facility in Hodeidah," it added.
Meanwhile, pro-Houthi media outlets reported that the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces attempted to advance toward the College of Engineering and the 50th Street, but the attempt was foiled by the rebel fighters.
During the past few days, fighting intensified between the two warring rivals in Hodeidah amid heavy deployment of armored vehicles near the frontlines.
It was highly hoped that the Stockholm Agreement on the strategic Red Sea port city of Hodeidah can pave the way for permanent peace in the impoverished Arab country as the first step to end the four-year military conflict.
However, all provisions of Stockholm's agreement were not implemented, and both Yemeni warring parties failed to withdraw their forces from the city's ports and surrounding outskirts and continued to prepare for new military escalation.
Yemeni observers expected that failure to implement the agreement on Hodeidah will open the door broader for the resumption of military operations between the two warring rivals during the upcoming weeks.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked into a civil war since the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.
Saudi Arabia leads an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels forced him into exile.
The internal military conflict between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has entered its fourth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the already world's worst humanitarian crisis.