At least 150 people have been killed in 24 hours of clashes in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, medics said Monday, as Britain's top diplomat visited the Gulf seeking to boost international calls for a ceasefire.
Government loyalists supported by a Saudi-led coalition are fighting to oust the Iran-backed Houthi rebels from the strategic Red Sea city, whose docks are a lifeline to 14 million Yemenis at risk of starvation.
Asked about the possibility of a ceasefire, a coalition spokesman told reporters in Riyadh that "the operation is still ongoing," adding that it was meant to pressure the rebels to come to the negotiating table.
A Hodeidah resident reported an ebb in fighting around the city by Monday evening, but U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a possible "catastrophic situation" if the port is destroyed.
"The fighting must stop, a political debate must begin, and we must prepare a massive humanitarian response to avoid the worst next year," he said.