Air strikes and fierce clashes shook the outskirts of Yemen’s militia-held port city of Hodeidah overnight, pro-government sources and residents said Sunday, despite a UN-brokered ceasefire.
At least 29 fighters, including 22 Houthis, were killed on Saturday night in clashes and air strikes in Hodeidah province, a pro-government military source told AFP.
He added that seven Houthis were captured during an attack on al-Durayhimi district, which lies about 20 km south of Hodeida city.
The fighting comes days after a UN-backed ceasefire came into effect, part of a hard-won accord agreed in Sweden between Yemen’s warring sides.
The truce was due to be followed by the withdrawal within days of fighters on both sides.
Meanwhile, security sources and residents in the capital Sanaa said that the Houthi militias were carrying out large-scale arrests of intelligence officers of the national security service branch, amid Houthi fears of a rebellion against them.
According to local media, the sources also revealed that the Houthi militias are subjecting the remaining members of the national security service to surprise searches of their homes and examinations of their personal phones, while the arrest of dozens from the branch has been carried out during the past few hours.
A prisoner swap involving some 15,000 detainees is planned and a “mutual understanding” has been struck to facilitate aid deliveries to Yemen’s third city Taiz - under control of loyalists but besieged by the Houthis.
The two sides also agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.
Meanwhile Reuters reported that the ceasefire in Hodeidah will begin on Tuesday, December 18, sources from both Yemeni warring sides and the United Nations said on Sunday, to try to avert more bloodshed in the port city, vital for food and aid supplies.