Houthis target Hodeidah, other provinces hours ahead of ceasefire

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The Houthi militia responded to the impending ceasefire in Yemen declared by the Arab Coalition with artillery shelling of civilian neighborhoods in Hodeidah, according to Walid al-Qadimi, the province’s first deputy governor.

Local media outlets also reported that Yemeni tribes were targeted in the residential areas of Marib province early on Thursday, hours after the Arab Coalition declared its intention to implement a comprehensive ceasefire across Yemen as part of efforts to combat the global coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi state television reported that the Iranian-backed Houthi militia targeted the Yemeni city of Marib with a ballistic missile.

Read more: Arab Coalition declares two-week Yemen ceasefire starting Thursday

Other provinces in Yemen like Saada and al-Jawf also saw continued attacks by the Houthi early Thursday morning.

The Arab Coalition declared it would implement a complete ceasefire in Yemen for two weeks starting midday on Thursday, according to a coalition statement, as part of efforts to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“The coalition announces a comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen for a period of two weeks, starting on Thursday, April 9, at 12:00 am local time, which can be extended in order to create the appropriate conditions to implement the invitation of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen to hold a meeting between the legitimate government and the Houthis,” the coalition statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency read.

Read more: Saudi Arabia to give Yemen $525 mln for aid, coronavirus response

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman said it is up to the Houthi militia to prioritize the health and safety of the Yemeni people as a two-week ceasefire comes into effect.

Prince Khalid also announced that Saudi Arabia will contribute $500 million to the United Nations humanitarian response plan for Yemen in 2020 and $25 million to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus.