Yemen Ceasefire Tested by Missiles, Airstrikes

The 72-hour U.N.-backed truce in Yemen came under duress on Thursday when missiles fired from inside the war-torn country killed two civilians in Saudi Arabia, while a Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes that Iran-allied Houthi fighters said killed three people, according to reports.

The U.N.-brokered ceasefire began late on Wednesday, which “brought Sanaa its first night without air strikes in nearly three months, and the truce was generally holding across the Arabian Peninsula state,” residents and officials told the Reuters news agency.

However, the Saudi-led coalition said that the truce was violated 43 times on the Kingdom’s border with Yemen, including rocket fire and attacks with “snipers and various weapons.”

Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.

According to Reuters, Secretary of State John Kerry made a plea for the Houthis to respect the ceasefire after he met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Thursday. Kerry said a rocket attack from Houthi territory killed two Saudi civilians, though it was not immediately clear where the deaths occurred.

“It is essential that the Houthis, who have said they will support this ceasefire, live by it,” Kerry told reporters.

In a briefing with reporters today, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said that the U.S. State Department is aware that the Houthi violations are supported by Iranian weapons and supplies.

“We’re aware that Iran provides lethal support to the Houthis. We have regularly and routinely called on regional actors to de-escalate the tensions in Yemen and the region, including abiding by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, as well as the ceasefire, which both the – all parties have said they would support.”