Yemen’s humanitarian cease-fire came under significant strain in its first 24 hours Wednesday, disrupted by a Saudi-led coalition airstrike, fighting between rival sides in a strategic province and shelling by coalition warships west of the port city of Aden.
The airstrike in Abyan province was in response to an attempt by the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, to send a military convoy to reinforce their forces in Aden, according to Yemeni security officials. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the airstrike.
The heaviest violence on the ground was in the southwestern province of Taiz, where the Iranian-backed rebels and their allies — forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh — have for weeks been fighting forces loyal to the nation’s internationally recognized president.
Yemeni officials said the Houthis shelled residential areas in Taiz, a claim supported by an Amnesty International report. The London-based rights group said Wednesday that evidence suggested the Houthis have carried out indiscriminate mortar attacks on civilians.
A Saudi Defense Ministry statement also accused the Houthis of violating the cease-fire by firing toward the Saudi border areas of Jizan and Najran.