Houthis violating truce; UN seeks to extend ceasefire

Houthis violating truce; UN seeks to extend ceasefire

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ADEN — The Arab Coalition Command said that Iran-allied Houthis in Yemen were violating a three-day ceasefire as the United Nations sought to quell persistent fighting by extending the truce.

The ceasefire, which was due to end at midnight local time on Saturday, was aimed at paving the way for talks to end a 19-month war and allowing badly needed aid to be delivered.

The Houthis violated the ceasefire almost a thousand times in the last 24 hours by launching mortar and armed attacks along Yemen’s border with the Kingdom and in several Yemeni provinces. “The Coalition Forces stressed that the response to the sources of fire was made in accordance with the approved rules of engagement,” read a statement on Saudi Press Agency.

“The Coalition Forces also stressed their commitment to the policy of self-restraint towards these violations.”
Violations were committed along the Saudi and Yemeni borders. Rockets and projectiles were fired and sniper weapons were used by the Houthis at Jazan and Najran, it added.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Major General Ahmed Assiri said coalition artillery and aircraft retaliated.

He told Al Arabiya’s sister Al-Hadath channel that the militiamen have not stopped the firing since the start of the truce.

“We will respond to each violation. We will be reactive,’ he said, in statements carried by AFP. “It’s so easy. If they stop, we will not fire a bullet.’

In one attack, a man and his daughter were wounded in the Kingdom’s Jazan region, according to Saudi Civil Defense authorities.

Furthermore, Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi stressed on the legitimate authority’s commitment to the truce, despite ongoing attacks by Houthi militias.

During his meeting with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Hadi highlighted his keenness to achieve peace, knowing that the war will always lead to the dialogue table.

“We ordered our various field commanders to abide by the truce, despite the registered violations of the rebels in various regions and cities, including Taiz,” he said.

Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, vice president, said after a meeting with the UN special envoy to Yemen late on Friday that the government sought peace but would respond to Houthi attacks.

“The legitimate government remains committed to restraint in recognition of the efforts of UN and for the sake of achieving the peace which has been rejected by the coup militias,’ Ahmar said in a statement on his official Facebook page.

Ahmar said UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed asked to extend the truce for another 72 hours, and government sources said foreign diplomats also were lobbying both sides to prolong the ceasefire.

The Houthis have also called for a negotiated solution to the conflict but were yet to agree on a truce extension. — Agencies