At least 8 killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen's Hodeidah: Houthis

At least 8 killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen's Hodeidah: Houthis

The deputy director of the port, Yehya Charafeddine, told AFP on Tuesday that the port's main entrance "had been the target of air raids [.] but the port is functioning normally".

Since November 1, when clashes erupted as the Saudi-led coalition attempts to retake the strategic port from the Houthi rebels, almost 600 people have been killed, ending a temporary suspension of the offensive by the government and the coalition supporting it led by Saudi Arabia.

After almost four years of conflict between Yemen's Iran-linked Huthis and a pro-government military alliance led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the fight this month reached rebel-held Hodeida, home to Yemen's lifeline port. He said three guards had been wounded.

Three port employees reached by telephone said the rebels had also begun to mine entryways to the port overnight.

The truce followed advances by the coalition in their latest attempt to retake the city from the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, with its forces now 5 kilometers (3 miles) short of the port, Yemen's traditional lifeline.

The U.S. and United Kingdom, major arms suppliers to the Saudi coalition, have recently called for a cease-fire in Yemen and the launch of U.N. -led political talks to end the Saudi-Iran proxy war.

Residents in Hodeida say they now fear a siege on the city, home to some 600,000 people, with only one major exit route in still open to traffic, on the northern edge.

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Rebel-controlled media reported two air strikes but made no mention of casualties.

The UN refugee agency said about 445,000 people have fled Hodeida province since June.

"I ask that the parties implement a cessation of hostilities, not least in and around all the infrastructure and facilities on which the aid operation and commercial importers rely", said Mark Lowcock, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, in a statement.

The coalition has said that wresting control of Hodeidah would break the Houthis by cutting off their main supply line and force the group to adopt a softer stance in the negotiations to end the conflict, seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Iran.

Mutawakel said Saudi Arabia's refusal to let exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government maintain a presence on the ground, the blockade of air and sea ports of entry and the collapse of Yemen's currency after the closure of the country's central bank had also driven the starvation.

After the Houthis failed to show up for talks in Geneva in September, Griffiths got both sides to agree to confidence-building measures to set the table for a new dialogue, including United Nations administration of Hodeidah, prisoner exchanges and the reopening of airports in Sanaa and Aden to facilitate the delivery of aid.

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