Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: UN envoy Griffiths

 A redeployment of forces in Yemen's Hodeidah by the warring parties could start "possibly even today or tomorrow," UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday. (AP/File Photo)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Troop withdrawal in Yemen's Hodeidah could start Tuesday, Wednesday: UN envoy Griffiths

  • The Iranian-backed Houthi movement and Arab coalition agreed in talks in December to withdraw troops by Jan. 7
  • The UN said on Sunday that the parties had reached agreement on phase one of a troop redeployment

LONDON: A redeployment of forces in Yemen's Hodeidah by the warring parties could start "possibly even today or tomorrow," United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed government agreed at talks in Sweden in December to withdraw troops by Jan. 7 from the Red Sea city under a truce aimed at averting a full-scale assault on the port and paving the way for negotiations to end the four-year war.

But the pact stalled over control of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions facing famine. After weeks of diplomacy, the United Nations said on Sunday the parties had reached agreement on phase one of a troop redeployment.

"With the beginning, possibly even today or tomorrow, of the implementation of that part of the Hodeidah agreement we now have the opportunity to move from the promise made in Sweden to hope now for Yemen," Griffiths told the 15-member council.

Griffiths said phase one of the redeployment of forces would "facilitate humanitarian access to the Red Sea Mills."

The World Food Programme grain stores at the Red Sea Mills are enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month and have been inaccessible for more than five months.

Griffiths urged the parties to agree on the details of the second phase of troop withdrawals, which entails full redeployment of both parties' forces in Hodeidah province.


Rocket hits house north of Tel Aviv, Israelis wounded: police, medics

Updated 13 min 56 sec ago
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Rocket hits house north of Tel Aviv, Israelis wounded: police, medics

  • Palestinian rockets rarely reach an area at that distance from Gaza
  • Relations between the two states may flare up again after the incident

MISHMERET, Israel: A rocket hit a house in a community north of Tel Aviv and caused it to catch fire on Monday, wounding five Israelis, police and medics said.
Israel’s army had earlier reported a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel but a spokeswoman could not comment further for now.
The house hit was located in the community of Mishmeret, police said. Medics said they were treating one Israeli with moderate wounds and four others injured lightly.
Mishmeret is more than 80 kilometers from the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave at that distance is rare.
It would be sure to draw an Israeli response, risking another escalation between the two sides after mounting tensions in recent weeks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently in Washington, where he is due to meet US President Donald Trump later Monday.
The rocket fire comes at a highly sensitive time for Israel, which holds elections on April 9.