Houthi shelling kills three in southern Hodeidah

Two men and a child were killed in an explosion at a market in the Hays district

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 27, 2018 Workers inspect damages at the site of an air strike on the maintenance hub at the Hodeidah port. Four years after Saudi Arabia led a military intervention in Yemen to back the government against rebels, the only hope for peace in a country threatened by famine hangs on a fragile truce.
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Three civilians were killed and one was severely injured after Houthi rebels shelled a gathering near a public market in the centre of Hays district, southern Hodeidah on Sunday.

Col Mamoon Al Mahjami, spokesman for Al Amalikah Brigades, told The National that two men and an eight-year-old child were killed.

“Another citizen was badly injured when a Houthi Howitzer shell targeted a gathering near the public market in the old city of Hays," Col Al Mahjami said.

"The two men and child died immediately, while the person who was seriously injured was taken to the hospital of the Medecins sans Frontiers organisation in Mocha to be treated.

“The Houthi rebels have been committing horrible crimes against the civilians since the first day of ceasefire.

"Dozens of citizens have been killed in the southern areas of Hodeidah in daily shelling by the Houthis, who repeatedly target innocent, unarmed civilians, mostly farmers and free workers in addition to women and children."

The Iran-backed Houthis have intensified their activity in the port city of Hodeidah and other areas in the coastal province.

On Sunday morning, a military source in the pro-government forces in southern Hodeidah said the Houthis shelled sites they controlled in Al Mandhar, southern Hodeidah, with mortars and Katyusha rockets.

“They work hard to push us towards a new fight to break the UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement, which was signed in Stockholm in December 2018," the source said.

"But we stick to it because we want the international community to know the real face of the Houthi rebels.”

A source close to the government team in the Redeployment Co-ordination Committee in Hodeidah said on Sunday that the Stockholm agreement was like “crawling in a dark tunnel”.

He said the UN’s efforts to hold the Houthis to the first phase of the committee's plans were “doomed to failure”.

“The negotiation process is freezing more and more as all the UN efforts have come to a dead end so far," the source said.

"Nothing has been achieved since the beginning of the ceasefire.”

He was referring to last week's statement by Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy to Yemen, that progress had been made by the two parties over the withdrawal of troops from Hodeidah.