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Yemen army kills 140 Shiite rebels

world Updated: Sep 20, 2009 20:33 IST

AFP
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The Yemeni army killed more than 140 Shiite rebels during fierce fighting in the rugged mountainous city of Saada in northern Yemen on Sunday, a military official said, after the failure of a truce offered by the government.

"The army killed more than 140 rebels after thwarting an attempted attack on Saada," the official said, describing the fighting as "the fiercest" since the start of the military offensive on August 11.

The rebels started their attack on the city at 0300 am from three directions in an attempt to reach the presidential palace in Saada, but the army was able to foil the offensive, the official said.

"So far more than 140 bodies have been found," he added.

The government on Friday announced a unilateral suspension of fighting, saying it would become a permanent ceasefire if the rebels abided by certain conditions. A rebel spokesman said they would "examine" the conditions but hostilities resumed on Saturday.

The main government demand is that they "respect the ceasefire and the opening of roads, evacuate their positions and free captured civilians and soldiers.