SANAA, July 6 (Xinhua) -- At least four people were killed and dozens wounded in clashes between the Yemeni government forces and Houthi rebels in the southern districts of the port city Hodeidah during the last 24 hours, security sources told Xinhua on Saturday.
The clashes began on Friday afternoon and have been continuing in the districts of Hais and Tahita. The security officials and residents said the fighting is spreading toward other residential neighborhoods near the southern and eastern areas of the Hodeidah airport.
Two paramedics were killed in the rebel shelling on Friday near the village of Bait Maghazi in Hais while they were trying to move injured residents including children to a hospital, a security official said on condition of anonymity.
Two other residents were killed on Saturday morning in the shelling against rebel-held Swaiq area of Tahita, another security official said on condition of anonymity.
The Iran-allied Houthi rebels control much of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah while the Saudi-backed government troops have advanced to the southeastern districts.
Hodeidah is the lifeline entry point for Yemen's most food imports and humanitarian aid. The more than four-year grinding war has pushed over 20 million people to the verge of starvation.
Yemeni warring parties reached a UN-sponsored cease-fire deal on Hodeidah in December last year as the first step toward a comprehensive political solution to end the civil war.
However, both warring parties have failed to pull their forces from the port city, putting the deal in jeopardy and threatening a major battle that could lead to famine.