Arab coalition pushes Yemen ceasefire back after attack

Delayed truce announcement by Saudi-led force comes after two senior officers killed in an attack near the city of Taiz.

An anti-Houthi protester raises her fist painted with a Yemeni flag during a rally in Sanaa

An anti-Houthi protester raises her fist painted with a Yemeni flag during a rally in Sanaa January 24, 2015. Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets on Saturday in the biggest demonstration yet against the Houthi group that dominates Yemen, two days after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s resignation left the country in political limbo. Witnesses said up to 10,000 people began marching from Sanaa University towards Hadi’s home some 3 kms (1.8 miles) away, repeating chants denouncing both the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi group and predominantly Sunni al Qaeda. The words on her fist reads as: ” Yemen safe”. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi (YEMEN – Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)

A ceasefire to halt nine months of war in Yemen will now begin on Tuesday morning instead of midnight as previously announced, coinciding with the start of UN-backed peace talks in Switzerland.

The pushed back truce came after Saudi and Emirati authorities said on Monday that two senior coalition officers were killed near the city of Taiz in Yemen’s southwest.

Saudi Colonel Abdullah al-Sahyan and Emirati officer Sultan al-Ketbi died at dawn “while they were carrying out their duties in supervising operations to liberate Taiz”, the official Saudi Press Agency news agency said.

The Emirati state news agency WAM separately confirmed Ketbi’s death.

Media controlled by the Houthi rebels said the two were killed in a rocket attack on the Red Sea coast.

The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government said the truce will now begin at 09.00GMT (12pm local time) following a request by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

It warned, however, that it “reserves the right to respond in case of any violation” by the rebels, said a statement carried by the SPA state news agency.

“The ceasefire [will last] for a period of seven days starting from the 15th to the 21st of December in conjunction with the launch of consultations, and will be renewed automatically in the event of the commitment of the other party,” the statement said.

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