Airstrikes Kill 15 Civilians in Yemen, Hours before Truce
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Airstrikes by an Arab coalition targeting Yemen's dominant Houthi group killed at least 15 people early on Tuesday, residents said, hours before a ceasefire was due to take effect to pave the way for UN-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland.
Residents said war planes launched two raids on the village of Bani al-Haddad, in the northern Hajjah province on the border with Saudi Arabia, killing 13 people and wounding 20 others.
Two more residents died while medics were trying to evacuate them, they said, according to Reuters.
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition could not be reached for immediate comment but the alliance claims it does not target civilians.
The coalition has said that the ceasefire requested by fugitive former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to facilitate the planned peace talks in Switzerland would start at noon local time (0900 GMT) on Tuesday.
In a statement carried by Saudi state news agency SPA, the coalition said that Arab forces retained the right to respond to any breach of the ceasefire.
The coalition has been waging mainly airstrikes on the Houthis since March, after the Houthis seized control of much of the country in a series of moves that started in September 2014. The Houthis say their rise to power is a revolution against corrupt officials beholden to Saudi Arabia and the West and against the militant al Qaeda.
Two senior commanders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among dozens of fighters killed in a rocket strike in south-western Yemen, according to local media and Yemeni sources on Monday.
A previous round of peace talks in Geneva in June failed to produce a breakthrough, with each side blaming the other for the failure of the talks.