Yemen ceasefire ends without extension

The Saudi-led coalition spokesman accused the rebels of 180 violations in the first 10 hours of the truce.

Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committee, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abdrabu Mansour Hadi, hold a position in the country's third-city Taez during clashes with Houthi rebels, on November 21, 2016. A fragile 48-hour ceasefire in Yemen ended today after failing to stem violence across the country, with each side blaming the other for violating the US-backed truce. / AFP / AHMAD AL-BASHA
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RIYADH // The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government against Iran-backed rebels said a 48-hour ceasefire ended on Monday and will not be renewed after repeated violations.

The truce, which began on Saturday, ended at midday (1pm UAE time) on Monday with “no orders to extend the ceasefire”, coalition spokesman Major General Ahmed Assiri said.

“There is no respect [for the truce], only violations,” he said.

He accused the rebels of 180 violations in the first 10 hours of the truce and said the conditions for prolonging the truce were “not there” as “there have been more people killed in [the southwestern city of] Taez and more attacks with surface-to-surface missiles”.

The ceasefire came after US secretary of state John Kerry met rebel representatives in Oman and urged the government of Yemeni president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to sign up.

The coalition had said the truce could be renewed if the rebels abided by the deal and allowed aid deliveries to besieged cities. But on Sunday, Yemeni security officials said the Houthi rebels were blocking humanitarian aid from reaching Taez, which has been besieged by the Shiite rebels and allied forces for the past year.

The officials said 18 lorries from the World Food Programme were prevented from leaving the city of Ibb, north of Taez.

Yemeni government forces and rebels were engaged in fierce fighting as the ceasefire approached its end on Monday, military officials said.

Fifteen rebels and nine loyalist troops were killed in clashes overnight in and around Taez, military and medical sources said.

Four civilians were killed and 11 others wounded in rebel bombing of loyalist-held neighbourhoods, the sources said.

Witnesses also reported loud explosions on Monday.

A spokesman for renegade Yemeni troops allied with the rebels accused the other side of forces more than 100 violations of the ceasefire.

Yemen’s devastating conflict erupted in 2014 when the rebels overran Sanaa and other parts of the impoverished country.

The United Nations says more than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded in Yemen since March 2015, when the coalition intervened on behalf of the government.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press