Huthi violations push Arab coalition to end Yemen ceasefire
RIYADH - A Saudi-led coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen announced the end Saturday of a ceasefire that had been violated on a daily basis since it was declared last month.
The "coalition leadership announces the end of the truce in Yemen starting from 1400" (1100GMT) on Saturday, the alliance said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The ceasefire announced on December 15 had been ended due to continuous rebel "attacks on the kingdom's territories by firing ballistic missiles towards Saudi cities, targeting Saudi border posts, and hampering aid operations," it said.
The rebels have also "continued to shell residents and kill and detain Yemeni civilians in cities under their control," said the coalition.
"All this shows how unserious the militias and their allies are and their disregard for the lives of civilians, and how they have clearly exploited this truce to make gains."
However, the coalition "was and is still eager on creating the suitable circumstances to find a peaceful solution in Yemen," it said.
Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition that has been battling Iran-backed rebels in neighbouring Yemen since March.
The rebels intensified their rocket attacks across the Saudi border in recent days, prompting the coalition to threaten severe reprisals.
The statement comes after the coalition announced that Saudi air defence forces had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the kingdom's city of Abha late on Friday.
The "launcher was located and destroyed in Yemen," it said.
The Saudis have deployed Patriot missile batteries designed to counter attacks and have recently been intercepting missiles fired from Yemen on an almost-daily basis.
More than 80 people, most of them soldiers and border guards, have been killed in shelling and cross-border skirmishes in the kingdom's south since coalition operations began in Yemen.
On Thursday, three civilians including two children were killed in cross-border missile attacks from Yemen on a residential area in the southwestern Jazan region of Saudi Arabia.
Eleven others were wounded, among them nine children, according to the Saudi civil defence.