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Yemen largely peaceful as ceasefire continues

There had been no airstrikes on the rebel-held capital since the truce began [ AFP]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2016

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A two-day ceasefire in Yemen is largely holding with the Saudi-led coalition putting air raids on hold, while flash point areas between government forces and Houthi rebels remained mostly calm.
Violence in war-torn Yemen subsided on Sunday, a day after a 48-hour ceasefire was declared by the pro-government Arab coalition which is battling rebel fighters in the country. 

An AFP correspondent in the Yemen capital Sanaa said there were no air raids in the city since the ceasefire came into effect at midday on Saturday.

The flashpoint southwestern city of Taiz was also calm after fierce clashes on Saturday between government forces, and a coalition of Houthi rebels and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a military official said.

The official spoke of "limited exchange of fire" in the city where heavy gun battles this week killed dozens of people.

Meanwhile, the coalition said its air defences destroyed three ballistic missiles fired at dawn by the rebels at Marib province, east of Sanaa, a military official said.

Coalition spokesman Major General Ahmed Assiri accused the Iran-backed rebels of 180 violations of the truce in 10 hours after it took effect. 

He said 150 breaches took place in Yemen, while 30 others were along the northern border with Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Jazeera news network.

The ceasefire comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry this week met rebel representatives in Oman and urged the government to come on board.

At first the government rejected the peace bid, saying it had not been consulted.

But it has come under huge pressure to back down in the face of an international outcry over the mounting civilian death toll from 20 months of conflict.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in Yemen and nearly 37,000 wounded since the coalition intervention began in March last year, the UN said.

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