Yemen / 150 killed in battle for Hodeida

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels

Yemeni pro-government forces gather on the eastern outskirts of Hodeidah as they continue to battle for the control of the city from Houthi rebels

Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have halted their offensive aimed at taking the strategic port city of Hudaydah from the Houthi Ansarullah fighters.

The officials said hostilities have ceased for the second consecutive day, with both sides respecting the truce. The deal has held for the past 24 hours after 150 people died in daylong clashes in the port city, which handles 70% of aid entering the war-torn country.

Lowcock said the United Nations was ready to play a role in "ensuring the appropriate use of key facilities, especially around Hodeida" - a key entry point for humanitarian aid and vital supplies to Yemen.

The alliance accuses Iran of smuggling arms to the Houthis through Hodeida Port. Tehran denies the charges.

The military and Houthi officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Mr Guterres said: "The fighting must stop, a political debate must begin, and we must prepare a massive humanitarian response to avoid the worst next year".

The United States, which for years provided military training and aerial refuelling for the Saudi-led coalition, on Saturday announced it would end its inflight refuelling support for the alliance.

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The Saudi-led coalition now "appears determined to take Hodeidah, which in my opinion will still not allow the real start of a political solution", Mr Guterres said.

The troops have advanced to near the city's center over the past few days, fighting the rebels from a street to another.

"I call upon all parties to the conflict to show continued restraint".

Verhoosel, speaking in Geneva, said those supplies could feed 3.7 million people in northern and central Yemen for a month.

The statement also said that Pompeo reiterated during the phone talks USA calls for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and for all parties to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict under the UN Special Envoy.

United Nations humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock echoed Griffiths' call on all parties to show restraint and reiterated the U.N.'s readiness "to play an enhanced role in ensuring the appropriate use of key facilities, especially around Hodeida". "All parties must live up to their obligations under worldwide humanitarian law".

Critics of the Saudi campaign have always been questioning USA involvement in the war, in which more than 10,000 people have been killed, over 2 million displaced and has spread starvation in Yemen since it began in 2015.

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