Yemen: fighting in Hodeida intensifies, 53 Houthis killed

Women artists at work during the Misk Art festival in Riyadh

The war in Yemen between pro-government forces and a coalition led by saudi Arabia to the rebels, Houthis, supported by Iran and who have taken over in 2014 and 2015, large areas of the country, including the capital Sana'a.

Clashes broke out in a strategic Yemeni port city and airstrikes pummeled the country's capital Friday, as the US -backed Saudi-led coalition launched a fresh offensive in the Middle East's poorest country, two days after an American call for a cease-fire.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt agreed with the UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths "that the time was right for the Council to act to bolster the United Nations led process", according to a Foreign Office statement.

Meanwhile, fighting in the Hodeida province has intensified in the past days, security officials said.

ADEN, Nov 4 - Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition inched closer to the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Sunday as they battled Iranian-aligned Houthi fighters entrenched there, local military sources and residents said on Sunday.

Several areas surrounding the Kiko-16 highway were captured by the government forces following hours of intense fighting, the army commander said on condition of anonymity.

The United States and Britain have called for an end to the conflict, raising pressure on Saudi Arabia as it faces a global outcry over the murder of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The conflict is seen as a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran. Three-quarters of Yemen's people require life-saving assistance, according to the U.N. Population Fund.

"The time is now for a cessation of hostilities", Pompeo said.

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"Yemen has more problems than any people deserve to carry", Mattis said.

Saudi Arabia is also facing censure by the West over the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul a month ago.

Geert Cappelaere told The Associated Press in an interview from Yemen that recent USA calls for a cease-fire are imperative to ending the almost four-year war, which pits a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-aligned rebels known as Houthis. The rebels pushed the internationally recognized government out of the country.

According to the World Health Organisation, almost 10,000 people have since been killed.

Trapped between the warring parties are millions of Yemenis grappling with what the United Nations describes as the world's most severe humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the country with the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 7 million Yemenis on the brink of starvation and cholera causing more than 2,000 deaths.

UNFPA said lack of food, displacement, poor nutrition, disease outbreaks and eroding health care have dramatically affected the health and well-being of 1.1 million malnourished women who are pregnant or are breast-feeding their newborns.

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