Houthis Reveal Saudi Ceasefire Breach

Houthis Reveal Saudi Ceasefire BreachHouthis Reveal Saudi Ceasefire Breach

The five-day humanitarian ceasefire introduced by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen was disrupted by two Saudi-led airstrikes early Monday morning, only hours after it took effect midnight Sunday, CNN reported, citing the Houthis’ Defense Ministry sources.

According to the source, the airstrikes hit Hajjah and Saada Provinces. The Hajjah airstrike hit a medical center, killing one person and injuring seven others. There were no reports on casualties in Saada, Sputnik reported.

Saudi Arabia claimed the temporary truce was intended to allow for the delivery of medical and humanitarian aid to Yemen and was introduced at the request of fugitive president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the country to Riyadh.

Though fighting was reported in the southern city of Taiz, witnesses and security officials said. However, the capital Sana’a and central Yemen were understood to be quiet.

Security officials said clashes broke out almost immediately in the city of Taiz following random shelling in three neighborhoods. Shelling was also reported in northern and western areas of the port city of Aden.

Fighting hotspots in Aden and Lahij, an outlying town to the north, were said to have become quieter after the ceasefire came into effect, although there were still occasional volleys of gunfire.

The Saudi-led alliance has been waging an air campaign since March in Yemen to restore Hadi to power and repel Houthis, who took control of Sana’a in September.

The coalition made the unexpected announcement about the humanitarian pause on Saturday. The statement, carried on Saudi state media, said the coalition will cease military operations, but that it will respond should Houthi forces or their allies conduct any military actions or movements.

 Doubt in Truce

The Houthis expressed doubt over the truce. One Houthi official said it will likely mark “the beginning of a new war.”

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi’s Revolutionary Council, said on Sunday the group had not received official notification of the truce from the United Nations. Two previous humanitarian truces in Yemen did not hold.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all parties involved in the conflict to suspend military operations and “maintain the humanitarian pause for the sake of all the Yemeni people.”

He also urged all sides “to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Yemen.”

Desperately needed relief supplies have recently begun to trickle into Aden. A ship carrying 3,000 tons of supplies from the UN’s World Food Program docked there on Tuesday, the first UN vessel to reach the city in four months of fighting.

More than 3,500 have been killed since the Saudi-led alliance began bombing Yemen. Aden has suffered especially, with severe shortages of fuel, food and medicine.

 Battleground Sabr

Delivery of aid has been hampered by continued fighting in and around the key port city.

Earlier on Sunday, Saudi-backed troops and their allies clashed with the Houthis in a strategic town north of Aden, security and military officials from both sides of the conflict said.

Pro-Hadi forces had withdrawn from the town of Sabr earlier in the day after fierce battles with the Houthis. They returned hours later following the arrival of military reinforcements and reportedly took control of parts of the town, security officials said, adding that at least five pro-Hadi fighters were killed and 15 wounded.

The running battles in Sabr, which is on a key supply route, have lasted for more than a day after troops stormed it in their push north from Aden toward the strategic military base of Al-Anad, held by the Houthis for much of the past four months.

Security officials and residents of Sabr said the situation on the ground has quietened since the ceasefire took effect.

The Saudi-backed troops fighting in Sabr had been training since April in military camps in Al-Buraiqeh, the port city west of Aden, according to military officials from the Saudi-led coalition. Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian and Jordanian military advisers there have set up the camps and trained hundreds of fighters.