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Saudi-led Coalition, Rebels Pledge to Abide by New Cease-fire in Yemen


Infant Udai Faisal, who died from acute malnutrition on March 24, is one of thousands of Yemeni children who are suffering from hunger as one of the most horrific consequence of the Yemeni conflict and the naval blockade and airstrikes by the Saudi-led co

A new cease-fire took effect in Yemen at midnight, local time, with all sides promising to stick to it.

The truce is aimed at giving peace talks scheduled for April 18 in Kuwait a chance to succeed.

"The Arab coalition is going to respect a cease-fire in Yemen starting from midnight Sunday at the demand of President Hadi, but reserves the right to respond to any rebel attacks," a Saudi-led coalition statement says.

The Iranian-backed rebels also say it will adhere to the truce, but respond if attacked.

Fighting was reported in several areas as the hour for the cease-fire approached. One report says at least 20 people were killed.

Several other cease-fires in Yemen have failed and desperate civilians say they hope this one will last.

A government worker in the rebel-held capital of Sana'a told Reuters "I am tired of the fighting, the destruction, everything. The situation is very difficult for people without work, without electricity, without water and with the fear that at any moment, bombardment could kill those dear to us."

The Houthis took over Sana'a in 2014 and forced the internationally-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to exile in Saudi Arabia before returning to the southern port of Aden.

A Saudi-backed coalition launched airstrikes against the Houthis last year and also sent in ground forces.

The airstrikes and fighting on the ground have killed about 6,000 people and created a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

The United Nations says about 80 percent of Yemeni civilians are in desperate need of food and medical aid.