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Air Raids Hit Rebel Supply Lines around Yemen's Hodeida


U.N. envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths (C) arrives for a meeting with the President of the Huthi Revolutionary Committee, in the capital Sana'a, Nov. 24, 2018.

A Saudi-led military coalition resumed air strikes against rebel supply lines around Hodeida on Sunday two days after a U.N. envoy visited the lifeline Yemeni port city, pro-government military officials said.

The airstrikes targeted convoys of rebel reinforcements at the northern entrance to Hodeida and south of the city, which is held by Iran-aligned Huthi insurgents, the officials told AFP.

The raids came alongside sporadic firefights on the eastern and southern edges of the port city, a resident told AFP.

The renewed violence came after U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths visited Hodeida on Friday to assess the humanitarian situation ahead of peace talks between Yemen's coalition-backed government and the rebels set to take place in Sweden in December.

Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdessalam said on Twitter there had been "35 air raids over the last 12 hours on Hodeida, accompanied by artillery bombardments."

No reports of casualties were immediately available for the air raids and the fighting.

Under heavy international pressure, the Yemeni government and the coalition had until Sunday largely suspended a five-month offensive against the port city.

Fighting had intensified in early November as Yemeni forces backed by the coalition attempted to enter Hodeida, but calm returned after Griffiths arrived in Yemen on Wednesday.

After visiting Hodeida on Friday, Griffiths on Saturday met Mohammed Ali al-Huthi, head of the Huthi rebels' Higher Revolutionary Committee, in the insurgent-held capital Sanaa.

The U.N. envoy is due to hold talks with Yemen's internationally recognized government in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday, according to a U.N. source.

U.N. agencies say up to 14 million Yemenis are at risk of starvation if fighting closes the city's port, from which nearly all imports and humanitarian aid pass.

According to U.N. figures, nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the coalition joined the conflict in 2015 to reinforce the government, triggering what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Rights groups fear the actual toll is far higher.

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