Yemeni officials say clashes kill 23 in Hodeida, Marib

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni officials and tribal leaders said Saturday fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels has killed at least two dozen people in the past three days in Marib province and the key port city of Hodeida.

The war in Yemen erupted in 2014, when the Iran-allied Houthis seized the capital and much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led coalition, determined to restore the authority of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government, launched a sweeping military intervention months later.

The officials said more than 23 people were killed and dozens were wounded from both sides in the most recent fighting for the oil-rich Marib. The Iranian-backed rebels have sought to take control of the region from the internationally recognized government, in order to strengthen their position in ongoing U.N.-mediated peace talks.

Tribal leaders said the Houthis have deployed reinforcements to break government defenses in Marib, but they have made no progress.

Saudi-led forces have hit Houthi military convoys in the region’s desert, according to the tribal leaders.

In Hodeida, fierce fighting erupted on Wednesday in the town of Durayhimi, just south of the strategic Hodeida port, which handles about 70% of Yemen’s commercial and humanitarian imports, Yemeni officials said.

They said at least one civilian was killed and seven others were wounded in the clashes, which were described as the fiercest violence in months between government forces and the rebels.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, as did the tribal leaders for fear of reprisals.

Hodeida was the scene of bloody fighting in 2018, before the warring sides signed a U.N.-brokered agreement in December that year that included a cease-fire in the port city and an exchange of more than 15,000 prisoners. But the deal was never fully implemented.

The war in Yemen has spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical shortages. It has killed over 112,000 people, including fighters and civilians.

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