Renewed clashes between Yemeni government forces and rebels killed more than 40 people Tuesday, military officials said, a day after a fragile 48-hour ceasefire expired without halting the violence.
Forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi repelled an attack by Shiite Houthi rebels and their allies on the western outskirts of Taez city, the officials said.
The attack that began late Monday targeted the Al-Dhabab area, which provides pro-Hadi forces with their only access to the flashpoint city of 300,000 people that is surrounded by insurgents.
Warplanes from the Saudi-led Arab coalition took part in operations to repel the attack, officials said.
Military officials also reported heavy artillery fire in an eastern suburb of Taez as pro-Hadi forces pressed a campaign to wrest back control of a presidential palace, police headquarters and an air defence base from the Houthis.
Eleven rebel fighters and five pro-government soldiers were killed in the clashes around the southwestern city, they said.
In northwest Yemen, fighting around the coastal town of Midi cost the lives of 18 rebels and four soldiers, a loyalist commander on the ground, Abdel Ghani Chebli, told AFP.
Rebel sniper fire on Monday night killed three soldiers as the Houthis tried to advance on Midi’s harbour, which is controlled by pro-Hadi forces.
The coalition and the rebels have traded blame over violations of the ceasefire which came into effect on Saturday after US Secretary of State John Kerry intervened.
It was the latest international attempt to end Yemen’s 20-month conflict, which the United Nations says has killed more than 7,000 people and wounded nearly 37,000.
The Houthis overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the impoverished country in September 2014, prompting the coalition to intervene six months later in support of Hadi.
In the southern city of Aden, an airport security officer, Colonel Abdel Rahim Samahi, was gunned down outside his home in an attack, a security official said Tuesday.
The Islamic State group said it killed Samahi, the Site Intelligence Group reported.