Residents report blasts in Yemen's Hodeida on first day of truce

Residents report blasts in Yemen's Hodeida on first day of truce
2 min read
19 December, 2018
Houthi-run media outlets have accused the Saudi-led military coalition of breaking a UN-brokered truce in Hodeidah.
Both sides are required to withdraw from Hodeidah as part of the ceasefire [Getty]

Residents in Yemen's main port city reported hearing four blasts on Tuesday - the first day of a UN-brokered ceasefire between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed government forces.

Hodeidah residents who spoke to Reuters reported hearing what sounded like artillery shelling on the eastern and southern outskirts of the key port city.

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV blamed the Saudi-led coalition for allegedly breaking the ceasefire.

Hodeidah experienced calm during the day on Tuesday due to the truce being in effect.

The Saudi-led coalition official told AFP on Monday that the agreement stipulated the rebels should withdraw from all ports in Hodeida by midnight on 31 December and that both pro-government forces and Houthis pull out of the city completely by midnight on 7 January.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that "much worse" lay in store for Yemen in 2019 unless the peace deal is implemented.

The Sweden talks marked the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people - though rights groups say the actual figure is five times higher.

Yemen's government and the Houthi rebels have agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates.