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Yemen sees heavy fighting as peace hopes shatter

Heavy fighting broke out in north Yemen and Taiz [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 November, 2016

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Just a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry's peace initiative failed, heavy fighting broke out in Yemen with fresh assaults by pro-government forces.

Heavy fighting has erupted between warring factions in Yemen, after a peace deal between Houthi rebels and the government broke down on Tuesday.

Most of the fighting took place in the north and west of Yemen with 51 dead.

Loyalists of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi launched an attack on three fronts to recapture the coastal town of Midi and nearby Haradh, the officials said.

Fifteen loyalists and 23 rebels were killed in the fighting, the officials said.

"Our military operations will continue until we push them out," said army Colonel Abdul Ghani al-Shubaili, whose forces had air support from a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Elsewhere, nine rebels and four soldiers were killed in fighting on the outskirts of the flashpoint city of Taiz, in southwest Yemen, military officials said.

Pro-Hadi forces have advanced towards the city's presidential residence and police headquarters - both under rebel control - witnesses said, reporting heavy fighting and loud explosions that shook the city.

Fighting in Taiz and its surroundings on Tuesday killed 39 people, including five civilians, 20 soldiers and 14 rebels, military officials said.

The UN said that more than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 wounded in Yemen since the Arab coalition launched a military campaign against the Houthis in March 2015.

Millions are in need of food aid, and another 21 million people urgently need health services, according to the UN.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that rebels were ready to observe a ceasefire plan taking effect this week, but the government swiftly dismissed the proposal.

Kerry spoke a day after meeting Houthi negotiators in Oman, but Hadi's government said it was not aware of any new peace initiative.

Six attempts to clinch a ceasefire in Yemen have foundered, including a three-day October truce that fell apart as soon as it went into force. It was designed to allow aid deliveries to millions of homeless and hungry Yemenis.

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