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Following Yemen truce, first fuel ships enter Houthi-held Hodeidah port

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Two fuel ships have entered war-torn Yemen’s port of Hodeidah, the first shipment in months, the militia who control the city said Monday, after a UN-brokered truce went into effect.

Yemen has been embroiled in conflict between the government, supported by an Arab coalition, and the Iran-backed Houthi militia since 2014, when the insurgents seized the capital Sanaa.

Since 2016, the coalition has enforced an air and sea blockade, with exemptions for aid flights, accusing Tehran of smuggling weapons to the Houthi militia. Iran denies the claims.

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“The fuel ship, Ceasar, has now arrived to the port of Hodeidah after being held up for 32 days,” the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), which is under Houthi militia control, said in a statement.

On Sunday, it announced the arrival of the first boat after it had been “held up for 88 days.”

Areas under Houthi militia control -- which include much of the country’s north and parts of the west -- have suffered a fuel crisis for months, with the Houthis accusing the coalition of detaining oil ships since the start of January.

But a two-month truce took effect on Saturday, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, bringing a glimmer of hope.

Essam al-Moutawakel, a spokesman for the YPC, told AFP that the latest fuel shipments “will not end the fuel crisis, as the demand is very high... but it could alleviate its severity.”

Under the UN-brokered agreement, all ground, air, and naval military operations, including cross-border attacks, should cease.

In addition, 18 fuel ships are to be allowed into Hodeidah port, a lifeline for Yemen, and two commercial flights a week can resume in and out of Houthi-held Sanaa airport.

David Gressly, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said he welcomed the commitment to allow fuel ships through the ports of Hodeidah province.

“These ports are critical entry points for fuel, food, and other essential commodities into Yemen,” he said.

“The resumption of some commercial flights into and out of Sanaa International Airport will be welcome news to many Yemenis, including those who have been waiting for an opportunity to seek medical treatment or education abroad and for families who hoped to reunite” over the holy month of Ramadan, Gressly added.

Read more:

US special envoy says Yemen truce paves way to end conflict

Saudi Arabia welcomes UN announcement of ceasefire agreement in Yemen

Yemen govt to help with release of prisoners, open Sanaa airport in truce moves

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