Saudi-led coalition says Yemen truce ends Saturday

By Ahmed Al-haj, Associated Press | Posted - Jan. 2, 2016 at 6:01 p.m.


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SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The truce in Yemen between Shiite rebels and a Saudi-led military coalition has formally ended, according to Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency.

The truce technically came into effect on Dec. 15, 2015 as a mutual show of good faith during peace negotiations taking place in Switzerland.

But the truce never truly took hold on the ground in Yemen, with both sides ignoring it. The United Nations said on Dec. 20 there were "numerous violations" of the cease-fire agreement from the very start.

Yemen's conflict pits the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi-led, U.S.-supported coalition against the rebels, known as Houthis, who are allied with a former president. Local affiliates of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have also exploited Yemen's chaos to grab land and exercise influence.

According to U.N. figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching airstrikes targeting the rebels.

In Taiz, Yemen's third largest city, independent security officials said 14 civilians including four children were killed since Friday by shelling from the rebels, who have the city under a siege. The Houthis have been indiscriminately shelling the war-devastated city and blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid for months, according to residents and aid groups.

Eleven anti-rebel fighters were killed west and south of Taiz province, where the city with the same name is located, since Friday, according to the officials.

The officials said more than 22 Houthi and allied fighters were killed in airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition between Friday and midday Saturday in the provinces of Marib and Jawf.

The officials, who back neither side in the conflict, spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.

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Ahmed Al-Haj

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