May 18, 2015 / 6:29 AM / in 2 years

Kerry says Houthi movements make Yemen ceasefire 'difficult'

SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday Washington supported extending a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting in Yemen, but that maneuvers by Houthi fighters made that difficult.

Internally displaced children participate in lunch preparations at a school in Sanaa May 17, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition resumed air strikes against the Houthi in Aden overnight, hours after the expiry of a truce meant to facilitate badly needed humanitarian aid, a Reuters witness said.

Explosions could be heard near the southern city’s airport and the districts of Khor Maksar and Crater shortly after the five-day ceasefire expired on Sunday.

“We know that the Houthis were engaged in moving some missile-launching capacity to the border and under the rules of engagement, it was always understood that if there were proactive moves by one side or another, then that would be in violation of the ceasefire agreement,” Kerry told reporters in the South Korean capital.

“Saudi Arabia, under the rules of engagement, took action. We continue to support the idea of extending the humanitarian pause, but I think under the circumstances at the moment that would be difficult.”

Since Tuesday, Saudi-led forces and the Houthi militias had largely observed the ceasefire meant to allow delivery of food, fuel and medical supplies to millions of Yemenis caught in the conflict since the alliance began air strikes on March 26.

Sporadic clashes had continued, however, with at least 15 killed overnight Saturday-Sunday in the cities of Taiz and Dhalea, residents said.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Nick Macfie

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