31 killed in overnight fighting despite Yemen ceasefire

  • AP, Sanaa, Yemen
  • Updated: Dec 27, 2015 10:41 IST
Soldiers loyal to Yemen's government and members of an engineering team stand next to destroyed transmission towers during a search for landmines left by the Houthi rebels in the Mas area on Saturday. (Reuters)

Overnight fighting between Yemen’s Shia rebels and pro-government forces in the southwestern Taiz province killed 31 people, including eight civilians, Yemeni officials said on Saturday.

The rebels, known as Houthis, also blocked the flow of humanitarian aid to the provincial capital of Taiz, which is in government hands, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. The officials remain neutral in the conflict that has torn Yemen apart.

The Houthis have been besieging Taiz for months and have prevented the delivery of essential aid to the war-ravaged city for months.

Yemen’s conflict pits the country’s internationally recognized government and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis, who are allied with Yemen’s long-time former president.

Also Saturday, Houthi officials in the central Marib province said they fired a rocket at the presidential palace there which is being used as a military encampment by anti-rebel forces. They claimed the projectile killed several senior coalition officials there.

The Associated Press could not independently verify the claim and there was no immediate word from independent or coalition officials on any casualties in Marib.

Residents in the area said they heard the sound of an explosion coming from the palace, and that a fire had erupted in the building. They spoke on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals.

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