Nine killed in 'rebel rocket attack' in Yemen's Taiz
Twin rockets fired from the rebel-held outskirts of Yemen's third city Taiz killed nine civilians late on Wednesday, a medic and a loyalist military source said.
Seven civilians were also wounded by the rocket fire, a medical source at the city's al-Rawda hospital told AFP.
According to a loyalist military source, the rockets struck one after the other in the residential district of al-Nour.
A garrison loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has held out in the city largely surrounded by the Houthi rebels and their allies who control the capital Sanaa and much of the north.
The strategic Red Sea strait of Bab al-Mandab is part of Taiz, making the province a key battleground of the civil war, with government-held neighbourhoods coming under repeated rebel fire.
Hundreds have been killed in the Bab al-Mandab area in recent weeks amid intense clashes between pro-Hadi forces, backed by an international coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, and Iran-back Houthi troops who pledged allegiance to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
|The strategic Red Sea strait of Bab al-Mandab is
part of Taiz province [The New Arab]
Pro-Hadi forces took control of the strait in October 2015 and in recent weeks are reported to have made fresh advances in the area while sustaining casualties with Houthi forces pushed back.
However, the Houthis control nearly all of Yemen's Red Sea coast to the north and last year targeted both US warships and a United Arab Emirates vessel contracted to the Saudi-led coalition with rocket fire from the area.
The United Nations has stepped up peace efforts this week with UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed meeting Hadi at his base in second city Aden on Monday.
The envoy has been pushing a peace plan that would see a restored ceasefire leading to a political transition under which Hadi's powers would be significantly reduced.
The push for a negotiated settlement has been driven by mounting civilian casualties.
At least 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's ongoing civil conflict since the Saudi-led coalition began its military intervention in March 2015, the majority in coalition airstrikes.
Agencies contributed to this report.