12 civilians killed in south Yemen clashes: Official

AFP , Saturday 16 May 2015

Men evacuate a person injured during a clashes between tribal fighters and Shiite militia known as Houthis, on a motor bike, in the western city of Taiz, Yemen, Friday, May 15, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Fighting in south Yemen killed at least 12 civilians on Saturday, the penultimate day of a fragile humanitarian ceasefire between Saudi-led forces and Iran-backed rebels, an official said.

The Shia Houthi rebels shelled several neighbourhoods in Yemen's third city of Taez, killing 12 people and wounding 51, the local government official told AFP.

Fierce clashes overnight killed 26 rebel fighters -- Houthis backed by militiamen loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh -- as well as 14 pro-government forces, military sources said.

The violence caused many to flee to neighbouring countryside from Taez, where residents say sorely needed humanitarian aid has yet to arrive.

"Humanitarian aid hasn't reached Taez, where we haven't received fuel, food or medical equipment," the official said.

A five-day ceasefire between a Saudi-led coalition and Yemeni rebels went into effect on Tuesday, aimed at allowing shipments of humanitarian relief into the country after more than six weeks of air strikes and ground battles.

Clashes resumed Saturday in the southern port city of Aden, an AFP correspondent said.

Heavy artillery, including tank shells, fell on the northern sector of the city, where rebels and forces loyal to exiled President Abd-rabbo Mansour Hadi continue to fight over territory, including a main road giving access to central Aden, military souces said.

West Aden was also hit by shelling, the sources added.

In southern Dhaleh province, five Houthis were killed overnight when their convoy was ambushed, a local official said.

The humanitarian truce is set to end late Sunday.

The Saudi-led bombing campaign was launched to reinstate the rule of Hadi after the Houthis, backed by army units loyal to Saleh, overran much of Yemen.

The UN says more than 1,500 people have been killed in air strikes and fighting since March.

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