SANAA: Ground fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Shiite rebels killed nearly 100 people Wednesday, as negotiators in neighboring Oman tried to reach a truce, Yemeni security officials said.
They said representatives of the southern separatist movement were meeting with the Houthi rebels in the Omani capital Muscat.
A delegation from the party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key ally of the rebels, was also headed to Moscow to meet Russian officials, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
The fighting in Yemen pits the Houthis and allied troops loyal to Saleh against southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants and loyalists of President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, who is now based in Saudi Arabia. The rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in September.
A day earlier, the rebels and other political parties sent a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon thanking him for his efforts despite inconclusive peace talks in Geneva last week.
They urged the U.N. to intervene to stop the Saudi-led airstrikes.
Fierce fighting kicked off at dawn in the cities of Ibb, Aden, Taiz, Marib, Daleh and the Houthi stronghold of Saada, killing nearly 100 people, many of them civilians, the officials said. In Aden, dozens of shells fell on densely populated neighborhoods, while artillery duels shook the city of Taiz.
Also Wednesday, an International Committee of the Red Cross ship carrying 1,000 tons of food and three large generators from Oman docked in Yemen’s Hudaida port.
“In view of the economic blockade that affects all the people in Yemen, the arrival of this emergency aid is a welcome development,” said Antoine Grand, who heads the group in Yemen. “The food and generators will make a difference for tens of thousands of people directly affected by the armed conflict.”
The Houthi-controlled Interior Ministry said that some 20 civilians were killed Tuesday by coalition air raids.