Fierce clashes break out in Yemen's Hodeidah amid UN efforts to maintain cease-fire

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-03 05:54:10|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SANAA, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Heavy clashes and artillery shelling erupted on Tuesday night between the Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels on the southeastern edges of Hodeidah port city amid UN peace efforts to maintain the cease-fire deal.

Residents said the fighting was concentrated at Rabasah neighbourhood, Sanaa street, Hodeidah airport and Red Sea mills, with no casualties reported yet.

The escalation came hours after the World Food Programme was denied access to the city' mills to fumigate over 51,000 tonnes of wheat aid at risk of rotting.

The United Nations has warned against targeting food aid which could risk lives of millions of Yemenis.

The Iranian-allied Houthi rebels control the city while the Saudi-backed government troops have advanced to the southeastern outskirts.

Hodeidah is the key lifeline entry point for the country's most food imports and humanitarian aid. The four-year grinding war has pushed over 20 million to the verge of starvation.

Yemeni warring parties reached the peace deal on Hodeidah in December last year as a first step toward striking a comprehensive political solution.

They have largely held the cease-fire deal but failed to withdraw their forces.

The UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has been shuttling between the rival sides to push the deal toward the implementation.