Martin Griffiths
United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths (C), shakes hands with Houthi officials upon his arrival at Sanaa airport in Sanaa, Yemen January 5, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

Cairo: An attack by Yemen’s Iran-allied Al Houthi militia on a government team near the port city of Hodeida jeopardises peace efforts and puts UN credibility at stake, a Yemeni official said on Monday.

A government team in a UN-overseen redeployment committee Sunday survived a drone and missile attack by Al Houthis on its headquarters in the town of Mokha south of Hodeida in western Yemen. The attack coincided with the arrival of UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths at the Al Houthi-held city of Sana’a for peace talks.

”Houthis terrorist attack on govt. team &continuing breach of ceasefire put at stake credibility of the UNSE Mr. Martin Griffiths, head of the team General Abhijit Goha, & efforts being made to implement Stockholm agreement re the situation in Hodeidah,” Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al Eryani said in an English tweet.

Al Eryani urged both UN officials to “expressly condemn” the attack and put pressure on Al Houthis to stop their breaches of a UN-brokered Hodeida ceasefire signed in Stockholm, Sweden, last December.

In response to the Mokha attack, an Arab air alliance Monday struck Al Houthi positions in Hodeida, Yemeni online newspaper Adan Al Ghad reported, citing local witnesses.

The airstrikes ended a days-long lull in the Red Sea city, the report said without details.

The latest Al Houthi attack came two days after Griffiths cited in a briefing to the UN Security Council encouraging indications to end Yemen’s devastating war. He said that there were major reduction in the Arab alliance airstrikes in recent weeks and that the ceasefire was holding in Hodeida after UN observation posts were set up.

Hodeida is strategically important because of its key port through which most Yemen’s imports and aid enter.

Yemen’s conflict erupted after Al Houthis unseated the internationally recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and overran parts of the country, including Sana’a in late 2014.

In 2015, the Arab alliance led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from the Hadi government after Al Houthis advanced on the southern city of Aden, the country’s provisional capital.