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Fierce clashes kill dozens across Yemeni cities

Fierce battles erupted in the northern Jawf province when Houthi militias attacked loyalists in al-Motoon district

Published: Updated:

Clashes in several areas across Yemen on Friday killed 22 militias and 11 members of pro-government forces, military officials said, after peace talks hit a new barrier.

Fierce battles erupted in the northern Jawf province when Houthi militias attacked loyalists in al-Motoon district, triggering a counter attack by government forces backed by warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition, a military official said.

The fighting left 13 militias dead, while eight loyalists were killed by mistake in an air strike that missed its target, the official added.

Further south, three Houthi militias were killed in clashes in Bayhan, Shabwa province, another military official said.

And in the southwestern flashpoint city of Taez, six militias and three loyalists were killed in renewed fighting when insurgents attacked government troops on the southwestern outskirts of the city, a military official said.

Clashes have continued despite a UN-brokered ceasefire that entered into effect on April 11 and paved the way for peace talks in Kuwait.

Those talks received a new blow on Thursday when government representatives demanded a full withdrawal of Iran-backed militia from territory seized since 2014.

On Wednesday, the rebel delegation said it would not sign up to any deal on military and security issues until there was agreement on a consensus president and a national unity government to oversee the transition.

The peace roadmap put forward by UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed proposed the formation of a unity government in tandem with the withdrawal and disarmament of the militia, although he acknowledged major differences between the two sides’ timetables.

Despite a 15-month Saudi-led military intervention in support of the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, the militia and their allies remain in control of swathes of territory they have overran since 2014, including the capital Sanaa.

More than 6,400 people have been killed since the intervention began, the majority of them civilians, and there has been growing international pressure for an end to the conflict.