RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – The Saudi-led coalition said Friday, April 24, it was extending a unilateral ceasefire in Yemen by one month to combat the coronavirus pandemic, even as fighting persists in the war-torn country.
The extension comes after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels rejected a two-week ceasefire declared by the military coalition that ended on Thursday.
The coalition has decided to “extend the ceasefire for a month from Thursday,” its spokesperson Turki al-Maliki said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“The coalition reaffirms that there is still an opportunity to focus all efforts in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire in Yemen,” he added.
During the two-week truce, battles persisted between the Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government while coalition jets mounted dozens of air raids on rebel targets.
Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed over the past five years in the war between the coalition-backed government and the rebels, leaving the country in the grip of what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Earlier this month, Yemen reported its first case of coronavirus in Hadramawt, a southern government-controlled province, raising fears of an outbreak in the war-torn country.
Additionally, several people have been killed in flash flooding in Yemen this month.