Houthi rebels begin withdrawal from key ports in Yemen

Yemen's Houthi rebels say they have begun a long-delayed withdrawal of their forces from the key port city of Hodeida, following a U.N.-brokered cease-fire.

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the rebels' Supreme Revolutionary Committee, says the pullout from Hodeida, as well as Salif and Ras-Issa ports started on Saturday at 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).

The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV channel says U.N. observers are monitoring the forces' withdrawal.

The head of the U.N. operation monitoring the cease-fire, Lt. Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, said Friday that the Houthi's withdrawal from the three ports marked the first practical step toward realizing the cease-fire agreed on in December in Sweden. He added that the Houthis must commit to fully following through on the redeployment, which is expected to take place over three days.