Residents: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Kill 19 Yemeni Civilians

DUBAI (Reuters) -

Saudi-led airstrikes killed 19 Yemeni civilians in bombings of homes and a market on Sunday, residents said. The air strikes took place a day before a U.N.-brokered cease-fire is set to begin ahead of peace talks to end eight months of war.

Villagers in al-Hajawara in the northern Hajjah province said multiple air bombings killed 12 people inside their homes and wounded 30 others. Residents in the southern district of Qabatiya said seven civilians were killed in an attack on a market.

A Saudi military spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi group is fighting a civil war against loyalists of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose embattled government has been backed by airstrikes and ground forces from a mainly Gulf Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

Half of the nearly 6,000 people killed in the fighting and airstrikes are civilians, including 637 children, according to the United Nations.

A seven-day cease-fire is due to start on Monday, the day before planned U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Switzerland, senior officials on both sides of the civil war said.

Previous peace talks in June failed and a cease-fire the next month quickly unraveled, but months of a stalemate in ground combat and reports of increased pressure by Gulf Arabs’ Western allies to end the war may encourage a political settlement.