Over 100 killed in Yemen clashes

Sanaa, March 12 (IANS) Over 100 people were killed in clashes in Yemen’s Taiz city after security forces broke a rebel siege of the city, officials said on Saturday.

“We announce that our forces on Friday night broke the rebel siege on southwestern areas of Taiz after beating the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh,” read a statement by the army and resistance unit.

More than 100 fighters were killed from both sides, most of them Houthi rebels who were hit by Saudi-led air strikes, Xinhua quoted medical officials as saying.

The clashes began three days ago and the forces managed to retake Almisrakh and Alakroudh districts of Taiz, recapturing the old airport and the 35th military brigade camp during the fighting on Friday and overnight, according to officials.

“Now roads were secured and opened for humanitarian aid to enter the city,” the army statement added.

Government officials said the next round of battles would take place in the city where the republican palace, central security camp and Taiz International Airport are still under rebel control.

There was no immediate official comment from the Houthi group, but pro-rebel activists said it was a “tactical withdrawal”.

Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city located between the rebel-held capital Sanaa and the port city of Aden, is now the temporary capital after Saudi-backed loyal forces recaptured it in July 2015.

The new development on the ground came as Saudi Arabia, which led an Arab coalition against the Iran-allied Houthi and Saleh forces, had reached a truce deal this week with the Houthi group to secure the shared borders between the two countries and to secure delivery of aid to the damaged areas near the Yemeni-Saudi border.

The truce deal, which was mediated by Oman was implemented on the Yemeni-Saudi shared border only.

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