Saudi-backed militants clash with Houthi fighters on several fronts across Yemen, marring a UN-mediated ceasefire deal for the second day since it came into force.
A series of clashes erupted overnight on Monday in the Sarwah area of Ma’rib, which is mostly controlled by the Ansarullah movement and allied army forces, AFP quoted a military source as saying.
Saudi warplanes carried out air raids in the area as well as Hilan Mountain in Ma’rib as clashes raged on, Yemen’s al-Masirah television reported.
Similar clashes broke out in the Nihm district, northeast of the capital Sana’a, as Houthi fighters tried to repel an attack by the Saudi-backed militants.
The Houthis said Saudi-backed forces were behind at least 39 violations of the ceasefire that took effect midnight Sunday. They also said Saudi warplanes flew sorties over several areas.
The “continued military action endangers the peace process and reduce the chances of holding the forthcoming dialogue,” Mohammed Abdulsalam, spokesman for the Houthi movement, warned in a statement on his Facebook.
Amid the battles, Yemeni forces managed to take control of two strategic hilltops in Sarwah, reports said. Seven Saudi-backed mercenaries were allegedly killed and 15 others were wounded in the fighting.
The truce was announced by the UN special envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed as a step to calm the situation ahead of negotiations scheduled to be held in Kuwait on April 18.
Saudi warplanes, however, targeted the Salah and al-Huban districts of Ta’izz only two hours after the truce went into effect, according to Yemen’s al-Masirah news website.
The warplanes also pounded several areas in Sana’a and the province of Omran, despite an earlier statement by Riyadh that it pledged to honor the truce.
Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen since late March 2015 in a bid to return former president Mansur Hadi to power. Nearly 9,400 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the war.
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