Yemen rebels launch attack despite Saudi-led coalition truce: witnesses

 Yemen`s Huthi rebels pounded an area in the southern province of Taez shortly after the start of a humanitarian truce declared by the Saudi-led coalition bombing the Iran-backed insurgents, witnesses said early Monday.

Sanaa: Yemen`s Huthi rebels pounded an area in the southern province of Taez shortly after the start of a humanitarian truce declared by the Saudi-led coalition bombing the Iran-backed insurgents, witnesses said early Monday.

The rebels shelled residential areas in Jebel Sabr, the witnesses said. In the capital Sanaa and in central Yemen, however, the ceasefire appeared to hold, according to officials and residents.

Barely an hour after the unilateral truce came into force, sporadic gunfire rang out in the northern outskirts of Aden, where the rebels are trying halt the advance of loyalist forces who have retaken the southern port city, an AFP correspondent said.

Coalition raids had bombarded the rebel positions just north of Aden up to 15 minutes before the truce began, residents said.

Impoverished Yemen has been rocked by months of fighting between Huthi Shiite rebels and troops loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Thousands have been killed and many more are desperately in need of urgent aid.

The Saudi-led coalition on Saturday announced the five-day truce from midnight on Monday (Sunday 2100 GMT) to allow aid deliveries, but also said it reserved the right to respond to "military activity or movement".

An earlier Saudi-initiated humanitarian pause lasted for five days in May but the coalition resumed air strikes immediately after it expired, accusing the rebels of numerous violations.

A six-day UN-proposed truce due to begin just before midnight on July 10 also failed as clashes and coalition air strikes persisted.

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