Five civilians killed in Yemen port bombardment
Five civilians, including a child, were killed Sunday when their house was bombarded near Yemen’s strategic Red Sea port of Hodeida, the latest violence in the grinding civil war.
ive civilians, including a child, were killed Sunday when their house was bombarded near Yemen’s strategic Red Sea port of Hodeida, the latest violence in the grinding civil war.
The Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels traded blame for the devastating attack near frontlines south of the Huthi-held port.
“Five civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed in a mortar bomb strike on their residence by the Huthis,” a government military official told AFP.
But the Iran-backed Huthis, according to the rebel-run Saba news agency, said the explosion was caused by two air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in the war in 2015 to back the internationally recognised government.
Hodeida, which lies some 145 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of the rebel-held capital Sanaa, is a lifeline gateway for food, fuel and humanitarian aid.
The United Nations condemned the attack and said three other civilians were reportedly wounded.
“These devastating and ongoing civilian casualties are yet another violation of international humanitarian law and the terms of the Hodeida agreement and ceasefire,” Abhijit Guha, head of the UN mission to support the agreement, was quoted as saying in a statement.
The landmark UN-brokered truce for the city was signed in Sweden in December 2018.
Guha called for freedom of movement to allow UN monitors “to access sites of recent and significant military hostilities”.
The UN last month warned that thousands of Yemeni civilians were at risk in the western Hodeida province after fighting escalated.
Last month, Huthi fighters fought with pro-government forces south of the port in some of the heaviest clashes since before the 2018 UN-negotiated truce.
The violence comes amid heavy fighting in the Marib region, some 120 kilometres east of Sanaa, as Huthi fighters seek to wrest control of the government’s last northern stronghold.
The Huthis have also stepped up drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia, including a thwarted missile attack on the capital Riyadh on Saturday, the kingdom said.
Yemen’s conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, according to international organisations, sparking what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.