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Saudi-led Coalition Announces Ceasefire in Yemen Shortly After Airstrike Kills 80

A five-day pause in fighting scheduled to begin late Sunday night will be Yemen’s second attempt at a ceasefire this month.

by VICE News
Jul 25 2015, 7:43pm

Photo by Yahya Arhab/EPA

Shortly after an airstrike that killed at least 80 people, a Saudi-led coalition announced plans for a five-day humanitarian ceasefire with the Shiite Houthi rebels it is battling in Yemen.

The ceasefire is scheduled to begin at 11:59pm on Sunday. The pause in fighting comes at the request of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, according to a statement distributed on Saturday via the Saudi state news agency SPA. Hadi remains in exile in Saudi Arabia, where he has been since fleeing his country in March.

The embattled president wrote a letter to King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Friday asking for a ceasefire that would allow aid to be distributed, SPA said.

Related: As Fighting Rages, Yemen's Warring Parties Reportedly Begin Peace Talks

Just before Saturday's announcement, 80 people were killed and at least 150 injured by an airstrike on the central city of Taiz. Saudi Arabia and its partners initiated airstrikes against the country's Houthi militia, which is allegedly backed by Iran, on March 26, shortly after the rebels seized several cities, including the capital, Sanaa.

The ceasefire comes after gains by the Saudi-led coalition, which hopes to restore Hadi's government to power. Earlier this week, Hadi loyalists recaptured the presidential palace in the southern city of Aden.

In its statement, the coalition announced that it would cease military operations, but said it will respond if Houthi rebels or their allies initiate violence.

This will be Yemen's second attempt at a ceasefire this month. The first, brokered by the United Nations, was meant to begin July 10 and last until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It ended just hours after it began, with both sides accusing the other of breaking the truce. 

Watch the VICE News documentary, Inside War-Torn Yemen: Sanaa Under Attack: