Clashes erupt in Yemen hours before planned truce

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 9:43 PM

Yemen'south Saudi-backed government and its Iranian-allied Houthi enemies were set to implement a U. N.-backed cessation of hostilities from midnight (two thousand one hundred GMT) before talks to finish the year-old war start in Kuwait on April eighteen.

Fighting broke out N of Yemen'south capital and in the middle of the country on Sunday, killing more than twenty people, hours before a truce was due to arrive into force to alleviate peace talks.

Yemen'south Saudi-backed government and its Iranian-allied Houthi enemies were set to implement a U. N.-backed cessation of hostilities from midnight (two thousand one hundred GMT) before talks to finish the year-old war start in Kuwait on April eighteen.

The United Nations hopes this will lead to a more concrete, formal ceasefire with confidence-building measures.

The war has killed more than 6.200 people, drawn in rival regional powers Saudi Arabia and Iran and triggered a humanitarian crisis in one of the Arab world'south poorest countries.

In the capital Sanaa, controlled for the last eighteen months by the Houthis, residents said they desperately wanted this attempt at peace to succeed after two rounds of talks failed last year.

"I'm tired of the fighting, the destruction, everything," said Hussein Ali, a 57-year-old government employee.

"The situation is very challenging for people without work, without electricity, without water, and with the fear that, at any moment, bombardment could murder those dear to us."

But hours before the fighting was due to stop, heavy battles flared between forces faithful to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Houthi fighters in al-Maton, N of Sanaa, residents said.

In the central Bayda province, battles in the districts of al-Sawadiya and al-Zaher killed more than twenty people, local executive and residents said, and fighting continued in the southwestern city of Taiz.

"I hope that, when I wake up in the morning, the war has stopped," said 16-year-old learner Amal Ahmed in Sanaa, "and I can go to school, my classmates too, without being afraid of raids and death."

Hadi, whose forces are backed by a Saudi-led military coalition that's been carrying out air strikes for the past year, met his advisers in Riyadh on Sunday, Yemeni officials said.

They said the Houthis hadn't yet informed the United Nations about their latest position on the agreement to stop fighting. A spokesman for the Houthis couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

(Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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