The Arab military coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia has announced the end of a repeatedly violated ceasefire agreement with Yemen’s Houthi fighters and their allies.
A statement on Twitter by the official Saudi Press Agency citing the “Alliance in Support of Legitimacy” said the truce would end at 11:00 GMT on Saturday.
The ceasefire began on December 15 last year and coincided with UN-sponsored peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva.
Despite the truce, both sides continued to engage militarily, with the Arab coalition launching air strikes targeting Houthis and their allies, and the latter launching ballistic missiles into Saudi territory.
“The coalition has been and still is keen to create the right conditions to find a peaceful solution,” the Saudi Press Agency said citing the Arab coalition.
It said the ceasefire could not be maintained because of “the continuation of the Houthi militias and Saleh forces in violating it”.
The Saudi press statement came after the coalition announced that Saudi air defence forces had intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen towards the city of Abha late on Friday.
The “launcher was located and destroyed in Yemen”, it said.
On Thursday, three civilians including two children were killed in cross-border missile attacks from Yemen on a residential area in the southwestern Jizan region of Saudi Arabia.
Eleven others were wounded, among them nine children, according to the Saudi civil defence.
The Saudis have deployed Patriot missile batteries designed to counter attacks and have recently been intercepting missiles fired from Yemen on an almost-daily basis.
More than 80 people, most of them soldiers and border guards, have been killed in shelling and cross-border skirmishes in the kingdom’s south since coalition operations began in Yemen.
The conflict began in March last year, after Houthi forces and soldiers loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni president, swept across southern Yemen, taking the port city of Aden and forcing the Arab Gulf-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile.
Saudi Arabia assembled a mainly Arab military coalition in response and began launching air strikes on Hadi’s opponents.
In October, the coalition began sending regular ground troops to help Hadi loyalists secure their gains, including the recently recaptured Aden.
Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, almost half of them civilians.
The country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe according to the UN, with millions without food security or access to adequate medical care.