May 10, 2015 4:52 AM

Yemen's Shiite insurgents, army rebels back 5-day cease-fire

The Associated Press

SANAA, Yemen (AP) Yemen's Shiite rebels and their allies in the country's splintered armed forces said Sunday they would accept a five-day humanitarian cease-fire to allow aid to reach civilians after more than a month of airstrikes from a Saudi-led military coalition.

The cease-fire, scheduled to begin Tuesday, would help ease the suffering of civilians in the Arab world's poorest country who increasingly lack food, fuel and medicine since the bombing campaign began March 26.

However, all sides in the conflict have warned they will retaliate if the cease-fire is broken.

On Sunday, state news agency SABA, which is under the control of the Shiite rebels known as Houthis, quoted Col. Sharaf Ghalib Luqman as saying rebels in the armed forces agreed with the cease-fire. The Houthis earlier issued their own statement saying they will cooperate with the cease-fire and urging a return to dialogue.

Meanwhile, Saudi-led strikes have continued, with a residence of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh targeted Sunday in the capital. Saleh appeared on television afterward standing in front of the ruins. He urged Yemenis to remain steadfast in the face of Saudi aggression and to beware of spies among them. He also urged a return to dialogue. Saleh and his loyalists are allied with the Houthis, who are also backed by Iran.

The raging conflict in Yemen has killed over 1,400 people many of them civilians since March 19, according to the United Nations.

The Houthis also said in a statement that the coalition naval blockade prevented merchant ships carrying food from docking in the port of Hodeida.

Medical officials said some 70 wounded were evacuated from Aden onto a ship where they will be treated, with some severe cases being brought to Saudi Arabia. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief journalists.

Also Sunday, the Saudi national press agency said that a contingent of Malaysian forces had arrived at Saudi air bases, making it the 12th country to join the coalition. It did not give details on the size of the detachment, and Malaysian officials were not immediately available for comment.


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