Riyadh, Aden: Two ballistic missiles were fired from Yemen at Saudi Arabia, one of which was intercepted by the kingdom’s air defences, the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemeni rebels said Friday.
The other missile struck an area of desert east of the Saudi city of Najran, the coalition said in a statement carried by the kingdom’s SPA state news agency, without reporting any casualties.
“The leadership of the coalition asserts that while it is committed to the success of the negotiations in Geneva ... it will not abide by the ceasefire for long in the shadow of this threat to the kingdom’s territory,” SPA said.
The UN-sponsored peace talks began away from television cameras on Tuesday in the hope of ending nearly nine months of conflict that have killed almost 6,000 people and displaced millions.
Sources close to the talks said direct talks between Hadi’s government and the Al Houthis had been suspended since Wednesday evening, after Al Houthis rejected demands for the release of detained senior officials, including Defence Minister Mahmoud Al Subaihi and President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s brother Nasser.
In Geneva, UN spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said on Friday: “We expect the talks to continue. We continue to work with both sides. Sometimes we are working in separate sessions, sometimes together, based on what we think is more effective.” On Thursday, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Esmail Ould Shaikh Ahmad, said the third day of peace talks had produced “a major step forward” on the humanitarian front - agreement on aid for the war-torn city of Taiz - that would pave the way to further agreements on aid and other issues in coming days.
Medical sources said on Friday that limited medical aid had reached a few Al Houthi-controlled districts in Taiz.
Yemeni forces and allied tribes meanwhile captured the capital of northern Jawf province, the second rebel town to fall in 24 hours, tribal sources said.
Troops loyal to Mansour Hadi and allied tribesmen seized Hazm after making significant gains in the neighbouring region of Marib, the sources said.
Sources said the Hadi loyalist troops had also gained control of Al Labnat military base near Al Hazm, which had been under the control of the Al Houthi militia and their allies, fighters loyal to former President Ali Abdallah Saleh.
On Thursday, Yemeni troops captured the northwestern town of Harad after crossing over from Saudi Arabia where they had been trained and equipped.
About 1,000 soldiers were involved in the operation to take the town, a Yemeni military official said, adding that “intensive fighting took place in Harad”.
He said dozens of renegade troops allied with the Iran-backed Huthi Shiite rebels had been killed.
Riyadh said that one missile fired Friday was intercepted by the kingdom’s air defences, but said the other hit an area of desert east of the Saudi city of Najran.
It did not mention any casualties.
Clashes have been frequent along the border with Saudi Arabia, where rebel strikes have killed more than 80 people since March when the coalition campaign against the rebels began.