Heavy fighting between government forces and rebels in north and west Yemen has left 51 dead, as a new peace efforts appeared to stumble, military officials said yesterday.
They said forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi have clashed since Tuesday with Shia Houthi rebels and allied renegade troops in the country’s northwest, near the border with Saudi Arabia.
The fighting intensified as loyalists 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.
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.
Meanwhile, the Houthi group said yesterday it was ready to stop fighting and join a national unity government, raising hopes of a resolution to a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people.
The announcement appeared to confirm the details of a deal set out by Kerry a day earlier that he said included plans for a ceasefire starting today.
Mohamed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the political council of the Houthi’s Ansarullah group, said: “Ansarullah’s position has been and still is with stopping the war and the establishment of a national unity government that incorporates all political components,” Bukhaiti said, responding to a question on Kerry’s announcement.
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