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UN leader in Yemen safe after reported shooting amid peace talks

Retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who heads a United Nations advance team tasked with monitoring a ceasefire between the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen's Hodeidah, sits with Houthi officials upon his arrival at Sanaa airport, Yemen, Dec. 23, 2018.
Retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, who heads a United Nations advance team tasked with monitoring a ceasefire between the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed government forces in Yemen's Hodeidah, sits with Houthi officials upon his arrival at Sanaa airport, Yemen, Dec. 23, 2018. Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

ADEN — The head of a United Nations mission tasked with overseeing a peace deal in Yemen‘s Hodeidah port city is safe following a reported shooting incident, the United Nations said on Thursday.

A Yemeni source in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen told Reuters that Cammaert’s convoy had come under fire while visiting an area under coalition control and accused the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement of opening fire.

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“Patrick Cammaert and team are safe in Hodeida following reported shooting incident. More information to come later,” the office of the spokesperson for the U.N. chief tweeted.

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A Houthi spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

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The UN is pushing for a peace deal in Hodeidah to pave the way for a second round of talks to end the nearly four-year war that has killed tens of thousands of people.

While there is progress on exchanging prisoners, the UN has struggled to implement a troop withdrawal from Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions, amid mistrust among all sides.

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The Iranian-aligned Houthi movement and the Saudi-backed government on Dec. 11 exchanged lists of around 15,000 prisoners.

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They must submit written remarks on lists provided by the other side, respond and sign the final versions before handing them to the UN and the Red Cross which would oversee the exchange.