DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi-led air strikes killed 19 Yemeni civilians in bombings of homes & a market on Sunday, residents said, a day before a U.N.-brokered ceasefire is set to start ahead of peace talks to end eight months of war.
Villagers in al-Hajawara in northern Hajjah province said multiple air bombings killed 12 people inside their homes & wounded 30 others. Residents in the southern district of Qabatiya said 7 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 air strikes & ground forces from a mainly Gulf Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
Half of the nearly 6,000 people killed in the fighting & air strikes are civilians, including 637 children, according to the United Nations.
A seven-day ceasefire 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 & a ceasefire the next month quickly unravelled, yet months of stalemate in ground combat & reports of increased pressure by Gulf Arabs' Western allies to end the war may encourage a political settlement.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Dominic Evans & Mark Potter)