RIYADH: Iran-backed Houthi rebels have broken a day-old truce in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition which had been bombing the rebels said on Thursday, vowing to stick to the pause.
“The Houthi militias have violated the truce”, the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The statement alleged 12 contraventions of the ceasefire, which began at 2000 GMT on Tuesday, along the Saudi-Yemen border and in Yemen itself.
But it said the coalition “confirms its full commitment to the humanitarian truce and restraint”.
The rebels and their allies had indicated they would abide by the ceasefire, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States in order to allow aid into the stricken country where the UN´s food agency on Wednesday called the situation “catastrophic”.
The coalition statement described five alleged truce violations inside Yemen.
These included artillery, rocket and tank fire towards the southern town of Daleh where “clashes are continuing until now”.
In Luder, another southern town, there was heavy weapons fire “and occupation”, it said.
There were troop and equipment movements as well as artillery and rocket fire in the southern province of Aden, the coalition added.
It alleged the “killing of a large number of children and women” in Taez province, and rebel movement in Shabwa province.
The Saudi-led coalition on March 26 began bombing the rebels who had taken over large parts of Yemen.
Riyadh feared they would occupy the entire country and move it into the orbit of its regional rival Iran.
On the Saudi-Yemen border, the coalition alleged the Houthis blasted mortar bombs or rockets towards five locations in Saudi Arabia´s Najran and Jazan districts, fired “four shots by snipers”, and made two infiltration attempts.
On Wednesday the Saudi defence ministry had already announced that rocket fire from the rebel-held north of Yemen hit Najran and Jazan but that the Saudi armed forces “practised self-restraint as part of their commitment to the humanitarian truce”.
Bombardments from Yemen killed 12 people on the Saudi side of the boundary in the week preceding the ceasefire.
At least 12 soldiers and border guards also died in border skirmishes after the Saudi-led coalition in late March began bombing the rebels in Yemen to support pro-government forces.
In Yemen, more than 1,500 people have been killed by weeks of war, the United Nations said.