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Two civilians killed by Saudi artillery fire in Yemen’s Sa’ada despite UN-brokered ceasefire

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, Saudi soldiers fire artillery toward the kingdom’s border with Yemen in Jizan region. (Photo by AP)

At least two people have been killed after Saudi border soldiers fired a barrage of artillery rounds at a residential area in Yemen's northwestern province of Sa'ada, despite an ongoing two-month nationwide truce brokered by the United Nations.

The Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network, citing a Yemeni military source speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that the victims died on Saturday night as Saudi military struck the Razih district.

Three other people sustained injuries in the attack as well.

There were no immediate reports about the extent of damage caused as a result of the strike.

Furthermore, in the previous 24 hours, the Saudi-led military coalition's soldiers and their allied Takfiri mercenaries have violated the truce 108 times.

According to Yemen's official Saba news agency, the violations included 76 spying flights over several localities in the northern Yemeni provinces of al-Jawf, Hajjah and Sa’ada as well as the strategic central province of al-Bayda.

Saudi-backed militants also set up combat fortifications atop al-Ta'az Mountain in al-Akad area of the energy-rich central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, and sought to launch an offensive against Yemeni army troops and fighters from Popular Committees in the Silw district of the southern coastal province of Ta’iz.

Saudi-sponsored militants also targeted residential buildings at al-Zour village of the Sirwah district in Ma’rib province, besides various sites in Mala'a and al-Balaq al-Sharqi villages in the same Yemeni province. No reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage were quickly available.

Earlier this month, UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg announced a ceasefire, saying the two-month truce would come into effect at 07:00 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) on April 2 and could be renewed with consent of the parties, Reuters reported.

The deal stipulates halting offensive military operations, including cross-border attacks, and allowing fuel-laden ships to enter Yemen’s lifeline al-Hudaydah port and commercial flights in and out of the airport in the capital Sana’a "to predetermined destinations in the region."

The violations of the UN-brokered ceasefire come as Saudi-backed exiled Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is based in Riyadh, ceded power to a new "presidential council" as Saudi Arabia struggles to exit Yemen quagmire.

The head of the council asserted on Friday he would end the seven-year-long war via a peace process.

“The leadership council promises the people to end the war and achieve peace through a comprehensive peace process that guarantees the Yemeni people all its aspirations,” Rashad al-Alimi said in the televised speech.

Early on Thursday, Hadi delegated power to a presidential council and dismissed his deputy.

The presidential council is chaired by Rashad al-Alimi, an adviser to Hadi and a former interior minister in the former government of Ali Abdullah Saleh. Alimi enjoys close ties with Saudi Arabia as well as the al-Qaeda-linked Islah party inside Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western states.

The objective was to bring back to power the Hadi regime and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

The war has stopped well short of all of its goals, despite killing hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and turning the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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