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Yemen committees monitoring cease-fire agree to begin work

AP Saturday, April 16th 2016 07:47 PM

Local Yemeni committees tasked to monitor a week-old cease-fire between Yemen's internationally recognized government and Shiite rebels, agreed Saturday to begin their work on the ground at six front-lines, security officials said.

The monitors in the city of Taiz have agreed to monitor the cease-fire as of 2 p.m. local time and to exchange records of prisoners of war in preparation to release them, said security officials from the two sides of the civil war.

Following a prisoner exchange, local monitors also agreed to open roads to Taiz, which the rebels have besieged for nearly a year.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The cease-fire had begun last Sunday ahead of peace talks due to begin next week in Kuwait. However both sides have reported multiple truce violations by the other side.

A Saudi-led military coalition has waged an extensive air campaign for a year against the rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies, who have controlled the capital, Sanaa, since September 2014.

Meanwhile, government and Saudi-led forces are still continuing their battles against both al-Qaida and Islamic State affiliates in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes Saturday on al-Qaida positions west of the town of Jaar in Abyan province. The developments take place a day after the city of al-Houta, the capital of Lahj province, came firmly under government control after al-Qaida militants fled the city on Friday.

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