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Aid shipment reaches Yemen's conflict-hit Aden

Update: May, 25/2015 - 12:04

ADEN — A ship carrying 460 tonnes of Emirati humanitarian aid docked ON Sunday in Yemen's restive port city of Aden, as a Saudi-led coalition bombarded Shiite rebels across the country.

The United Nations, which is hoping to host a conference on Yemen in Geneva next week despite uncertainty over who will attend, says nearly 2,000 people have been killed in violence since late March.

More than 545,000 others have been displaced and, although some aid trickled in last week during a five-day ceasefire, people still lack basic needs, including water, electricity and fuel.

The shipment, including medical and food supplies, is the second from the United Arab Emirates following the delivery of 1,200 tonnes of aid last week, said local aid coordinator Ali al-Bikri.

Another ship carrying 400 tonnes of diesel also arrived on Friday, said Bikri, who was appointed by Yemen's government-in-exile.

"Aden needs urgently at least 200,000 food rations for the displaced," Bikri added.

Aden has been rocked by fierce fighting between the Shiite Huthi rebels backed by troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and southern fighters allied with exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

The president has taken refuge in Saudi Arabia along with his government since the rebels overran much of the country and challenged his authority.

In a bid to restore the authority of Hadi and his government, Saudi Arabia has been leading an air campaign against the Iran-backed Huthis since March 26.

Panic in Sanaa

Sporadic clashes rocked Aden on Sunday, killing two civilians and six rebels, after a day of fierce fighting that raged in the north, east and west of the city.

Air raids also struck several targets in the evening, including the landing strip at Aden airport, and the city's northern suburbs, officials said.

Strikes by the Saudi-led coalition also hit positions of the pro-Saleh elite Republican Guard in the central province of Taez, as well as rebel posts in Raymah province, west of Sanaa, witnesses said.

Sources close to the Huthis said at least 10 of the rebels' fighters were killed in the air strikes.

Ten civilians also died and 80 were wounded in shelling of several neighbourhoods of Taez, Yemen's third largest city, medics said.

Coalition warplanes circled Sanaa several times on Sunday prompting rebel forces on the ground to open fire on them with anti-aircraft guns, triggering panic among residents, correspondents said.

Witnesses said a Republican Guard base west of Sanaa was hit three times by coalition raids, after a night in which strikes also targeted arms depotsbelonging to the rebels southwest of the capital.

UN talks

The United Nations has said it will host talks in Geneva on Thursday aimed at relaunching a political dialogue among Yemeni rivals, but uncertainty over who will attend is growing.

The Yemeni president laid out his government's demands to attend the talks in a letter on Saturday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, insisting the Huthis must withdrawal from territory they have seized.

He reiterated his position on Sunday during talks in Riyadh with the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

The embattled leader demanded full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216.

The April resolution called on the Huthis to relinquish territory they seized and surrender weapons they took from the army and other state institutions.

Later the spokesman of the exiled government, Raja Badi, said the resolution "must be implemented in order to bolster the talks."

"It is difficult for us to attend consultations in Geneva on Thursday under the present circumstances," he said. — AFP

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