Saudi soldier killed by missile ahead of Yemen truce

Saudi soldier killed by missile ahead of Yemen truce
A rocket fired into a southern Saudi province by Houthi rebels in Yemen killed a soldier just hours before a 48-hour truce came into effect on Saturday.
2 min read
19 November, 2016
Six previous attempts to clinch a ceasefire have foundered [Anadolu]

A soldier was killed by a rocket fired from Yemen on Saturday into the Saudi southern Asir province just hours before a planned 48-hour truce came into effect. 

The Saudi soldier's death was confirmed by the interior ministry as Iran-backed Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attack in a statement issued via their Saba news agency.

The attack came in response to bombing by Saudi jets early on Saturday over Yemen's capital Sanaa, the statement added. 

A ceasefire announced by the Saudi-led coalition took effect on Saturday, following an international outcry over the mounting civilian death toll from 20 months of conflict.

"There are international pressures to observe a ceasefire and to resume [peace] negotiations," a source close to the presidency told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The announcement of a two-day ceasefire came from the Saudi-led coalition on Friday, adding that the truce could be extended if the rebels hold fire and allow aid deliveries to besieged government loyalist enclaves.

"It has been decided to begin a 48-hour ceasefire from 12:00 noon Yemen time [0900 GMT] on Saturday," a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.

A spokesman for forces allied to the Houthi rebels, Brigadier General Sharaf Luqman, had initially confirmed that they would abide by the ceasefire.

"Based on the agreement reached in Muscat, we affirm our commitment to the ceasefire if the other party respects it," Luqman said, referring to the accord signed with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Omani capital on Monday.

Six previous attempts to clinch a ceasefire have foundered, the latest in October.

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed urged all parties "to encourage full respect for the cessation of hostilities and to ensure that it leads to a permanent and lasting end to the conflict."

More than 7,000 people have been killed in Yemen and nearly 37,000 wounded since the Saudi-led coalition intervention began.

Agencies contributed to this report.