Fresh Yemen bloodshed despite extended ceasefire

Aden (AFP) - A fresh bout of deadly fighting and air strikes hit Yemen on Tuesday, despite an extended ceasefire that was supposed to come into force overnight, military sources said.

Foreign Minister Abdulmalek al-Mikhlafi said late Monday that President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi had decided to prolong the week-long ceasefire for another seven days in a bid to resolve the conflict.

The United Nations says the conflict pitting Iran-backed rebels against loyalists supported by a Saudi-led coalition has killed nearly 6,000 people since March.

The initial truce was violated on a daily basis since it came into effect on December 15, in conjunction with UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland.

In the latest bloodshed, at least 13 rebel fighters were killed in air strikes on the northern province of Daleh overnight, military sources said.

The rebels reportedly shelled an area near the central city of Taez, where loyalist forces have been besieged for months.

Fighting also took place in other parts of the Arabian Peninsula country, including the northern provinces of Hajja and Jawf, strongholds of the Shiite Huthi rebels, as well as Shabwa in central Yemen.

Saudi-led warplanes carried out eight raids early Tuesday on Huthi fighters and their allies at Rahida and Shuraija, on the border between Taez and Lahj provinces, the military sources said.

There were dead and wounded, the sources said, without providing any figures.

The Saudi-led coalition threatened severe reprisals late Monday against rebels in Yemen, after they fired a fourth ballistic missile in as many days towards the neighbouring kingdom.

Official media said Saudi Arabia intercepted a rocket fired towards the border city of Jazan late on Monday and then destroyed the missile launcher in Yemen.