Battles rock Yemen port city as UN warns of ‘living hell’

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"Despite the appeals, fighting continued on Friday, with the Saudi-led coalition saying it had attacked Sanaa International Airport and an adjoining air base being used by Houthi insurgents".

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lead a regional coalition that is seeking to oust the Houthis and restore Yemen's internationally recognized government.

Fighting between pro-government forces and rebels raged since Thursday near the University of Hodeida and intensified Saturday and into Sunday morning, according to a source in the pro-government forces.

Earlier in the day, Guterres had called for a halt to violence in Yemen to pull the country back from a "precipice" and build momentum toward talks on ending the war.

"Fierce battles between forces backed by Saudi-led coalition and the #Houthis have been going on for hours in the southern and eastern outlets of the Red Sea port city of #Hodiedah, with huge blasts being heard and airstrikes", Yemeni journalist Mohammed al-Qadhi wrote in a tweet Friday morning.

According to the World Health Organization, almost 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, though some rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

On Wednesday, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said that 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five were facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 were affected by severe acute malnutrition. In September, the Saudi-led coalition admitted that mistakes were made in an August airstrike that killed 40 children, an event considered an apparent war crime by the United Nations human rights body.

The United Nations estimates that if this continues 14 million people, half of Yemen's population, could be in a state of starvation as a result of the conflict. "Subsequently", Pompeo said, "coalition airstrikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen".

Yemeni government officials said on Tuesday that the coalition had sent more than 10,000 new troops towards the battleground city.

Yemen has been at war since March 2015, when Houthis occupied northern Yemen, forcing the government into exile.

The city's port is the main entry point of the country's 70 percent of imports and aid.

Despite a high-profile modernisation drive aimed at improving Saudi Arabia's image and attracting foreign investment, rights groups have detailed a crackdown on activists, increase in executions and discrimination against the Shiite minority.