World Bulletin / News Desk
The Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has declared a two-day ceasefire in the war-torn country.
"It has been decided to begin a 48-hour ceasefire from 12:00 noon in Yemen's timing (09:00 GMT) on Saturday," the coalition said in a statement cited by Saudi Arabia’s official SPA news agency.
It said the ceasefire could be renewed if Houthi rebels abided by it and allowed humanitarian aid into rebel-held areas.
According to the statement, the truce was announced following a request from Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to Saudi King Salman.
The coalition said it would observe by the ceasefire, warning that it would respond to any military moves by Houthis and their allies.
There was no comment from the Shia Houthi group on the coalition announcement.
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Saudi-led coalition and Houthis have agreed to a ceasefire from Thursday, but heavy fighting has eliminated hopes of the two warring rivals abide by the truce.
Six attempts to reach a ceasefire in war-torn Yemen have failed, including a three-day truce in October that fell apart shortly after coming into effect.
Impoverished Yemen has been wracked by chaos since late 2014, when Houthi rebels overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.
The conflict escalated in March of last year when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a major air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled Saudi-backed government.
Nearly 7,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict -- more than half of them civilians -- while another three million are estimated to have been displaced amid a spread of malnutrition and disease.