Sporadic clashes broke out on the outskirts of Yemen's Hodeida today, the first violence to hit the lifeline port city since a UN-brokered ceasefire came into effect, residents said.

Artillery fire could be heard in the south of the city, one resident told AFP by phone, while another living on the edge of eastern Hodeida said they could hear an exchange of fire every 15 minutes.

The clashes come just hours after a UN-backed ceasefire came into effect at midnight, part of a hard-won accord agreed in Sweden between Yemen's warring sides.

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The truce between Yemeni government forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Huthi rebels which hold Hodeida, was due to be followed by the withdrawal within days of fighters on both sides.

The Huthis on Friday accused pro-government forces of shelling rebel-controlled areas in Hodeida province.

In comments carried by their television channel, the rebels also said the coalition had launched air raids during the evening on numerous parts of the province. 

Saudi Arabia had earlier on Friday backed the accord and called on the Huthis to "embark on this path" towards a political solution.

The accord foresees Hodeida being administered by "local security forces" - a term the rival parties disagree on - supported by the United Nations.

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