Explosions rock Yemen's main port for second day after truce

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 20, 2018 - Duration: 01:40s

Explosions rock Yemen's main port for second day after truce

Explosions rocked Yemen's Red Sea city of Hodeidah for a second day on Wednesday despite a U.N.-mediated ceasefire meant to pave the way for peace negotiations to end nearly four-years of war.

Mia Womersley reports.

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Explosions rock Yemen's main port for second day after truce

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOPKEEPER AND HODEIDAH RESIDENT, MOHAMMED BIN MOHAMMED, SAYING: "My message to the world is that I want the war to stop so we can live.

We want to live like the rest of the world, we want to rest at home, no missiles, no planes.

We want to live and work for our children." These residents of Yemen's main port city are desperate for a ceasefire to hold.

A fragile U.N.-mediated truce has been in place in Hodeidah since Tuesday (December 18), following successful peace talks in Sweden.

But explosions rocked the heavily contested Red Sea city for a second day on Wednesday (December 19).

The Iranian-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-led government blaming each other for the violations.

The ceasefire aims to avert an all-out battle in the port that is a lifeline for millions and vital for emergency aid supplies.

(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HODEIDAH RESIDENT, ABDULLAH AKHDAR, SAYING: "I hope that the Sweden talks are the beginning of peace because this four year war has worn out the country and the people and is in no interest for anyone, not the people or the country, just pure aggression from the enemy coalition.

We hope this will be the start of peace." More than 80 percent of Yemen's imports used to come through here, but that has slowed to a trickle and 16 million Yemenis are on the verge of famine.

Sources told Reuters if international monitors aren't deployed soon, the ceasefire deal could falter.

The truce was the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years.

A U.N.-chaired committee and representatives from both sides met on Wednesday to discuss withdrawing troops from Hodeidah city and three other ports.

Further talks on the impoverished country are planned for January.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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