ADEN (Reuters) – Houthi fighters and Saudi-backed pro-government forces battled in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday, breaching a ceasefire and potentially complicating a troop withdrawal agreement intended to pave the way for wider peace talks.
The Houthis began withdrawing from three ports on Saturday, including Hodeidah port – a lifeline for millions of Yemenis threatened by starvation because of the four-year war, as it is the main entry point for food imports and humanitarian aid.
Coalition - Saudi - Arabia - Weapons - West
A military coalition led by neighboring Saudi Arabia, which receives weapons from the West, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government from the capital Sanaa. The war is seen as proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The Houthis and coalition forces both reported renewed clashes in Hodeidah on Wednesday, a day after the Houthis claimed responsibility for a drone attack that Saudi Arabia said had hit two of its oil pumping stations.
Coalition - Houthi - Attacks - Coalition - Targets
The Saudi-led coalition will “retaliate hard” for any Houthi attacks on coalition targets but remains committed to a Hodeidah peace deal, said a senior official from the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the coalition.
Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, who heads a U.N. monitoring mission in Hodeidah, said that while there had been an increase in violations of the ceasefire on Wednesday, “it is not an alarming number … I think the number that we have now is pretty much what we saw in some of the days before Ramadan.”
Government - Houthis - Capital - Stockholm - December
The Yemen government and the Houthis met in the Swedish capital Stockholm in December and agreed to a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal for Hodeidah. Under phase one of the deal, the Houthis withdrew from the ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa.
This is due to be met by a retreat...
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