JEDDAH: The Arab coalition fighting in support of the legitimate Yemeni government on Friday said that the Houthi militia had violated the cease-fire agreement 16 times over the last 24 hours.
The colaition said that this brings the total number of breaches to 190 since the start of the cease-fire.
A truce in the rebel-held city of Hodeidah and its surroundings went into effect on Dec. 18 and is part of a peace push seen as the best chance yet of ending four years of devastating conflict.
Retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert is heading the joint committee, which includes both government officials and Houthi rebels, and chaired its first face-to-face meetings on Wednesday.
“We support the Yemeni army’s commitment to the cease-fire and the Sweden deal,” the coalition said in a statement.
However, earlier on Friday, the Houthi militia prevented the Yemeni government’s delegation from leaving the port city of Hodeidah, after concluding consultations with a UN team tasked with monitoring the cease-fire between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.
Meanwhile, a number of civilians, including children, were wounded in a public square in the center of the city of Taiz in a bombardment launched by the Houthi militia, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
It cited local sources as saying the militia bombed the so-called Freedom Square while crowds of worshipers were preparing to perform Friday prayers.
Cammaert arrived in Hodeidah on Sunday from the rebel-held capital Sanaa, after meeting with government officials in Aden.
Yemen’s warring sides agreed at peace talks in Sweden this month on the cease-fire to halt an offensive by government forces and the coalition against Hodeidah.
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the deployment of observers to oversee the truce.
The UN monitoring team aims to secure the functioning of Hodeidah’s port and supervise the withdrawal of fighters from the city.
The text approved by the Security Council “insists on the full respect by all parties of the cease-fire agreed” for Hodeidah.
It authorizes the United Nations to “establish and deploy, for an initial period of 30 days from the adoption of this resolution, an advance team to begin monitoring” the cease-fire, under Cammaert’s leadership.