Aden/Dubai - Al Houthis shelled a camp for displaced persons in Haradh in Yemen’s Hajjah province on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding 30 others, an Al Arabiya correspondent reported. The wounded included women and children; the camp is located about 15km from areas where clashes occur. The attack was carried out by guided missile.
In another incident, Yemeni security officials say a pair of land mines killed six people in central Bayda province.
The officials say a passenger vehicle on Friday triggered the first mine, which killed a child and wounded five adults.
The second mine went off shortly afterward, killing five Yemeni soldiers who had rushed to try help the wounded.
The officials say the Iranb-allied Al Houthis have planted thousands of mines throughout Yemen that have killed hundreds of civilians, including children. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters.
Meanwhile in Hodeidah, a Yemeni military source said that “the militias shelled grain mills and silos where wheat is stored using a number of missiles,” causing severe damage.Meanwhile, failure to pullout troops from the main port of Hodeida under a month-old truce has put the first major diplomatic breakthrough of the four-year war in jeopardy.
The resignation last week of the UN official monitoring the ceasefire, who quit days after his convoy was shot at, has hammered home the potential for the peace deal to collapse. If fighting restarts in earnest around the port of Hodeida, the main supply route into the country could be cut off, leaving no way to feed millions of people on the verge of starvation.
“These coming weeks are make or break for the conflict. We will either see a restart of the political track, or we will likely see a significant military escalation,” said Adam Baron of the European Council for Foreign Relations.
The truce itself has largely held in the port of Hodeida since coming into force a month ago, but late on Wednesday clashes at flashpoints on the city’s edges intensified.
And the withdrawal of troops that was meant to take place by January 7 has stalled. Pulling out troops was seen as a pivotal confidence-building measure that would build up the trust needed for political talks.
Without it, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged last week, “lack of trust” had become a “complicating factor” in trying to get the parties to talk.
Late last year, with Al Houthis still in control of the city and the Arab forces dug-in on the outskirts, the militia finally agreed a ceasefire at talks at a castle near Stockholm last month.
The agreement also foresees a political track of talks to end the war. “People are worried that the war will start again after failure in implementing the deal,” said government employee Abdullah Abdul Bari, a 51-year-old resident of Hodeida.
This week’s resignation of the head of the UN mission tasked with overseeing the deal, Patrick Cammaert, came after mediators failed to convene a meeting to discuss the redeployment of forces from Hodeida.
The Redeployment Coordination Committee had met twice in Al Houthi-run territory, but attempts to convene a third meeting in areas held by coalition forces failed because Al Houthis were unwilling to cross the frontline, sources told Reuters.
The Arab states show increasing signs of running out of patience. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Wednesday blamed Al Houthis’ “obdurate behaviour”.
A diplomat in the Gulf said trust had been further eroded after a January 10 Al Houthi drone attack on a Yemeni government military parade, which was followed by coalition air strikes on Al Houthi military targets in Sana’a.
Residents and aid workers said barricades, trenches and roadblocks continue to be built and reinforced in Hodeida. The tense frontlines have made it difficult to set up humanitarian corridors to assist 10 million Yemenis facing starvation.
“Some food and fuel is coming through Hodeida Port and moving across the country but main roads are closed, diverting it over longer routes, and fighting is ongoing, threatening the safety of transportation,” the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Suze van Meegan said.