Saudi-led coalition ends Yemen ceasefire

In this Monday, April 20, 2015 file photo, Saudi soldiers work at the border with Yemen in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. (AP)

The Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi militias in Yemen for nine months announced on Saturday the end to a ceasefire that began on Dec. 15, the Saudi state news agency SPA said.

"The leadership of the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen announces the end of the truce in Yemen beginning at 1400 (1100 GMT) on Saturday," the agency said.

The ceasefire announced on December 15 had been ended due to continuous Houthi "attacks on the kingdom's territories by firing ballistic missiles towards Saudi cities, targeting Saudi border posts, and hampering aid operations," it said.

The militias have also "continued to shell residents and kill and detain Yemeni civilians in cities under their control," said the coalition.

"All this shows how unserious the militias and their allies are and their disregard for the lives of civilians, and how they have clearly exploited this truce to make gains."

However, the coalition "was and is still eager on creating the suitable circumstances to find a peaceful solution in Yemen," it said.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition that has been battling Iran-backed Houthis in neighboring Yemen since March.

The militants intensified their rocket attacks across the Saudi border in recent days, prompting the coalition to threaten severe reprisals.

The statement comes after the coalition announced that Saudi air defense forces had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the kingdom's city of Abha late on Friday.

The "launcher was located and destroyed in Yemen," it said.

The Saudis have deployed Patriot missile batteries designed to counter attacks and have recently been intercepting missiles fired from Yemen on an almost-daily basis.

More than 80 people, most of them soldiers and border guards, have been killed in shelling and cross-border skirmishes in the kingdom's south since coalition operations began in Yemen.

(with AFP)

Last Update: Saturday, 2 January 2016 KSA 20:05 - GMT 17:05

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