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The New Arab

Coalition airstrikes and clashes ahead of Yemen ceasefire

A ceasefire is expected to precede peace talks in April [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 March, 2016

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Ongoing aerial bombardment and clashes between warring parties in Yemen escalated on Thursday, just a week before the planned ceasefire begins.
At least 45 pro-government forces and 15 Houthis were killed as Houthi rebels launched a counterattack against troops advancing on a town along the coast of the Red Sea in Yemen, just a week before a planned ceasefire and peace talks.

Government soldiers were surrounded on the coast after crossing the Saudi border last December in an attempt to recapture coastal towns from Houthis.

Troops were met with heavy resistance by rebels in Midi despite swiftly capturing Haradh earlier.

The clashes come as Saudi-coalition forces missiles targeted Houthis in Sanaa, Taiz, Ibb and Marib on Thursday.

At least 55 were killed in the airstrikes on Ibb, local sources told The New Arab.

Meanwhile, US airstrikes pounded an old al-Rayan airport and army base overtaken by al-Qaeda in the southern Mukalla city.

Violence and instability have rocked Yemen since September 2014 when Houthi rebels seized Sanaa, forcing the government to relocate in the southern coastal city, Aden.

But warring parties have agreed to lay down their weapons on April 10 in preparation for peace talks in Kuwait a week later, after a year-long battle left the impoverished state in an even more dire situation.

Last week, UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that government officials, opposition parties and Houthi leaders will attend the talks held in an attempt to offer a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

More than 6,300 people have died - half of them civilians -since the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on Yemen in March 2015 in a bid to overpower the Houthis and reinstate President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi's government.

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