Saudi-led Airstrikes Target Houthis in Yemen After Five-Day Humanitarian Cease-Fire Expires

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The Associated Press
Washington, D.C.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies were reportedly targeted by Saudi-led airstrikes after a five-day humanitarian cease-fire expired on Sunday night.

In the southern Yemeni city of Aden, “Bombings struck the rebel-held presidential palace in the downtown area, groups of militiamen on the western and eastern approaches to the city as well as the international airport, which is disputed between the Houthis and local fighters,” reports Reuters.

A Saudi-led Sunni coalition has been carrying out an offensive against the Houthis and their allies, military units loyal to Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, since March 26.

The Saudis accuse its regional rival Shiite Iran of providing military support to the Houthis, something that both Iran and the rebels deny.

According to the coalition, which receives logistical support from the United States, their primary intention is to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia by the Shiite Houthis.

The Saudi campaign has failed to stop the Houthis and their allies from advancing into Aden and other areas across southern Yemen.

A five-day truce, proposed by the Saudis and backed by the U.S., started last Tuesday night.

The cease-fire was broadly respected and allowed the delivery of much needed humanitarian into Yemen, the State Department said last week.

However, Reuters notes that the “residents of the remote southern provinces of Shabwa, Dhalea and Abyan said heavy ground fighting persisted despite the agreed pause.”

United Nations officials have called for an extension of the truce to allow sufficient humanitarian supplies to be delivered within the country.

The Houthis and their allies “welcomed” the U.N. proposal “but the Saudi-led forces have said any extension depended on how the other side behaved,” reported Reuters.