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Thursday, 14 April 2016

Yemen clashes continue during ceasefire

Truce in place since Sunday - meant to lay the groundwork for peace talks - under pressure from deadly clashes.
Middle East Online
Sporadic fighting has continued
ADEN - Yemeni rebels killed a senior loyalist officer on Wednesday and deadly clashes erupted elsewhere in the country despite a UN-brokered ceasefire, sources said.
The fragile truce has been in place since midnight Sunday and is meant to lay the groundwork for peace talks next week in Kuwait.
The Shiite Huthi rebels, pro-government forces and the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in the country last year have all promised to abide by the ceasefire, but sporadic fighting has continued.
Loyalist military sources and medics told AFP that a rebel sniper shot dead the commander of a pro-government army brigade, Major General Zaid al-Huri, early Wednesday in the northeast of the central Sanaa province.
The rebels fired a mortar round in the same area, wounding six loyalist soldiers, the sources said.
In Marib province to the east, two pro-government fighters were killed and seven wounded in several hours of overnight clashes with rebels, loyalist officer Major Abdullah Hasan said.
At least one rebel was killed and several wounded and captured during the fighting, Hasan said.
The country's warring sides have traded accusations of jeopardising the ceasefire ahead of the talks due in Kuwait from Monday.
In a statement, a Huthi military official accused loyalist forces, including the Saudi-led coalition, of "violating the ceasefire" on Tuesday in Marib, Jawf in the north, and Taez in the southwest.
Yemeni authorities said at least 117 ceasefire violations by the rebels were recorded in seven provinces on Monday, according to a statement on the website.
The coalition, which launched a military campaign against the Iran-backed rebels last year, had described violations on Monday as "minor". meanwhile quoted Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi as confirming that the government will attend the peace talks in Kuwait, while criticising "Iranian interference in Yemen and its attempt to extend the conflict by sending arms" to rebels.
The US Navy has said its forces in the Gulf seized a shipment of weapons on March 28 believed to be from Iran that was destined for the Huthis.
Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-dominated Arab allies are backing the Yemeni government in the conflict while Shiite Iran supports the rebels, who have seized the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.
The war has left more than 6,300 people dead since March 2015 and worsened living conditions, with more than 80 percent of the population now on the brink of famine.

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