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Yemeni Houthis accuse Saudi-led coalition of ‘dangerous escalation’

By Babatunde Abdulfattah

The Yemeni Houthi movement on Friday accused the Saudi-led coalition of a dangerous escalation of the situation around Hodeidah after coalition forces attacked targets north of the port city.

Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels

The actions threatened a U.N.-brokered ceasefire accord in the Red Sea port, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said.

The Saudi-led coalition on Friday launched a military operation north of Hodeidah against what it described as “legitimate military targets”.

A coalition spokesman said attacks had destroyed four sites used to assemble remote-controlled boats and sea mines to help protect the freedom of maritime navigation.

“The concentrated raids on Hodeidah constitute a dangerous escalation that could blow up the Sweden agreement,’’ the Houthi spokesman said on Twitter.

“The coalition will bear the responsibility of this escalation, which is also a test to the United Nations.’’

A Hodeidah ceasefire and troop redeployment agreement were reached last year at peace talks in Sweden as a trust-building measure to pave the way for talks to end the war, but it stalled for months before a Houthi withdrawal from three Red Sea ports.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government in Sanaa in late 2014.

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