SANA, Yemen — A Saudi-led military coalition announced on Saturday that a five-day humanitarian cease-fire would take effect in Yemen starting Sunday evening at the request of Yemen’s exiled president.
Coalition forces have been bombing Shiite Houthi rebels and army forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March, aiming to push them back from southern and central areas and restore the country’s exiled president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
News of the cease-fire came after at least 80 people were killed and at least 150 were wounded in an airstrike in the central Yemeni province of Taiz on Saturday. A weeklong truce brokered by the United Nations failed earlier this month after Saudi Arabia said it had not been asked by Mr. Hadi, in whose name it is acting, to stop its raids.
A letter to the Saudi king on Friday from Mr. Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia to escape the advancing Houthi rebels, asked for the cease-fire to allow for humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Yemen, the state news agency SPA said.
The latest cease-fire announcement says that coalition forces will stop all military activities, but reserve the right to respond to violations by the rebels and pro-Saleh forces.
The Saba news agency in Yemen said that according to a source in Taiz, the bombing had targeted the Mokha area inhabited mostly by engineers and workers for a power station and some displaced families.
The front lines of Yemen’s war shifted in favor of the Saudi-led coalition earlier this month when, in coordination with forces loyal to Mr. Hadi, they managed to drive the Houthis out of the southern port city of Aden and much of the surrounding areas.
Since then, warplanes have been landing in Aden’s airport carrying equipment necessary to help reopen the airport, which had been shut down by the fighting.
Aden and the other southern provinces have been largely inaccessible to United Nations workers seeking to deliver food, and about 13 million people are thought to be in dire need of it.
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(via NY Times)