UN's Yemen envoy in Sanaa, as 32 rebels killed

AFP , Sunday 16 Sep 2018

Martin Griffiths
File Photo: UN envoy Martin Griffiths leaves after a news conference on Yemen talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 8, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)

Fresh clashes and air strikes have killed 32 rebels around Yemen's Red Sea city of Hodeida, hospital sources said Sunday, as the UN envoy kept up peace efforts in Sanaa.

A military source told AFP the Saudi-led coalition fighting alongside the Yemeni government against Shia Houthi rebels carried out an air raid on a radio station tower in the port city of Hodeida.

Three people died in Sunday's raid, he said, while Houthi-run Al-Masirah television said four people were killed, three security guards and a station employee.

According to medical sources in Hodeida province, which is controlled by the Houthis, a total of 32 insurgents were killed and 14 others wounded in clashes and air strikes since Saturday.

The coalition accuses the Tehran-aligned Houthis of smuggling arms from Iran through Hodeida and has imposed a partial blockade on the port, which the rebels seized in 2014.

In June, pro-government forces launched a major operation to retake both the city and its port, the entry point of most of the impoverished country's imports and aid.

The troops, backed by coalition air strikes, have retaken a number of towns across Hodeida province but have not yet breached the city.

The coalition in July announced a temporary ceasefire in Hodeida to give a chance to UN-brokered peace talks.

The UN's Yemen envoy, Martin Griffiths, arrived Sunday in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, without making any statement to the media.

Griffiths is pushing for new peace talks after a failed attempt to bring the two sides together in Geneva earlier this month.

The rebels kept away from the talks, accusing the UN of failing to guarantee the return of their delegation from Switzerland to Sanaa and to secure the evacuation of wounded rebels to Oman.

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in 2015 in the conflict between embattled Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, whose government is recognised by the United Nations, and the Houthis.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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