July 4, 2022

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Saudi-led Yemen ceasefire begins despite rejection of Houthi rebels

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A Saudi-led coalition battling rebels who hold Yemen’s capital have begun a unilateral cease-fire, though the insurgents have rejected the proposal.

he pause in fighting began early on Wednesday ahead of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Several similar efforts have failed, and there was no immediate independent confirmation on whether hostilities had paused between Saudi-led forces and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

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A doll is seen at a site of Saudi-led airstrikes targeting two houses in Sanaa, where the conflict began in 2014 (Hani Mohammed/AP)

The Iran-backed rebels are skipping an ongoing summit over the war in Saudi Arabia, called by the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council, due to it taking place on their adversary’s territory.

Yemen’s war began in September 2014, when the Houthis swept into the capital, Sanaa, from their northwestern stronghold in the Arab world’s poorest country.

The Houthis then pushed into exile the government of president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, elected in 2012 as the sole candidate after the long rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

A Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, entered the war in March 2015 to try and restore Hadi’s government to power. But the war stretched into long and bloody years, pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.

More than 150,000 people have been killed in the warfare, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. Those include both fighters and civilians – the most recent figure for the civilian death toll in Yemen’s conflict stands at 14,500.

Saudi airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians, while the Houthis have used child soldiers and indiscriminately laid landmines across the country.

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