Saudi coalition ends ceasefire in Yemen

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Jan. 2, 2016 at 3:06 PM
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SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- A Saudi-led coalition said it will no longer honor a ceasefire agreement with Houthi rebels in Yemen that began just weeks ago.

The announcement came this week after the coalition said the Houthis and forces loyal to ex-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked Saudi Arabia.

"All this shows their lack of seriousness and disregard for civilian lives as well as their attempt to take advantage of the truce to achieve gains," the coalition said in a statement carried on Saudi state TV.

Continuous rebel "attacks on the kingdom's territories by firing ballistic missiles towards Saudi cities, targeting Saudi border posts, and hampering aid operations" called for an end to the cease fire, the statement said.

The rebels have also "continued to shell residents and kill and detain Yemeni civilians in cities under their control," the coalition said.

The ceasefire, signed on Dec. 15, was announced around the same time as United Nations-brokered talks in Switzerland aimed at ending the conflict in Yemen.The BBC reported negotiations broke down just days later. Talks are scheduled to resume later this month.

The Guardian reported rebels also attacked the besieged city of Taiz. Civilians there are suffering from food and medical supplies shortages.

Since the Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign against the Houthi rebels in March, nearly 6,000 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed. With 80 percent of Yemenis in need of aid, the conflict has worsened an already dire humanitarian crisis.

Yemen's government was forced into exile in March after Northern Shia rebels known as Houthis took over parts of Yemen -- including the capital of Sanaa -- with the help of forces loyal to ex-President Saleh. The rebels accused the new government of corruption.

Southern militias and forces loyal to the new government regained control of five southern provinces with the help of the Saudi-led coalition.

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