Sanaa air raids resume as Yemen truce expires, say residents

October 23, 2016 1:54 AM EDT

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SANAA (Reuters) - Warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition attacked targets in Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, hours after a three-day truce in Yemen's war expired, residents in the capital said.

The ceasefire, agreed to allow for an increased flow of humanitarian aid, ended without renewal after a day of heavy fighting between the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Iran-allied Houthi movement.

Each side accused the other of repeatedly violating the truce and U.N. attempts to extend it before it lapsed appeared to have failed.

"The (Houthi) coup militias deliberately thwarted the truce and that further convinced our military and political leadership of their unwillingness to accept a peace," the government's army chief of staff Mohammed Ali al-Miqdashi said on Saturday.

Air strikes were reported over some military sites in Sanaa in the Hafa camp to the east and in the Nahdein area in the south. Radar positions were also targeted in the Houthi-controlled city of Hodeida and in the contested southwestern city of Taiz, residents reported.

Houthi-run TV channel al-Masirah said that pro-Houthi fighters had launched an artillery attack on government forces near Taiz.

A Saudi civil defense spokesman told state news agency SPA that missiles launched by the Houthis from inside Yemen destroyed two houses in the southern Saudi province of Jazan early on Sunday.

The air strikes happened hours before the arrival in Sanaa of U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed on Sunday who told reporters at Sanaa airport he would discuss options for a political solution with Houthi representatives and try to secure another ceasefire.

The United Nations and diplomats had hoped a pause in the conflict would pave the way for talks to end a 19-month-old war which has killed at least 10,000 people in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country.

The coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen since March 2015 to try to restore to power the internationally backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who went into exile.

(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Jon Boyle and Raissa Kasolowsky)



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