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Yemen Peace Talks Struggle as Airstrikes Shake Truce

Yahya Doad (2nd R), a member of the General Committee of the General People's Congress Party, and Mohammed Abdul-Salam (2nd L), head of the Houthi delegation to scheduled peace talks in Kuwait, gesture after they finish a news conference at Sana'a Airport, Yemen, April 20, 2016.

Yemen's Houthi movement accused a Saudi-led coalition of launching airstrikes that killed seven people on Sunday, shaking a truce that has largely held through more than two weeks of U.N.-backed peace talks in Kuwait.

The Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen's Saudi-backed exiled government are trying to broker a peace through the talks in Kuwait and ease a humanitarian crisis in the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country.

The year-long conflict has drawn in regional powers and killed at least 6,000 people.

"The aggressor's planes bombed various districts in the Nehm district, leading to the death of seven martyrs and wounding three," the Houthis said in a statement.

Political sources from the Houthi group's rivals in Yemen's government say the bombing in the Nehm area east of the capital Sana'a was directed at Houthi forces that were massing in the area in violation of a ceasefire that began on April 10.

A spokesman for the mostly Gulf Arab military coalition did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

A civil war in Yemen escalated when an armed push by the Houthis pushed the government into exile on March 26 last year.

Seeing the Shi'ite Muslim group as a proxy for its Gulf rival Iran, Saudi Arabia mustered an alliance of mostly Gulf Arab countries to push the group back. But the coalition still appears far from forcing the Houthis out of Sana'a.

If confirmed, the air attack would be the deadliest single incident since the ceasefire began and could increase tension between the rival delegations in Kuwait.

Representatives of the warring sides formed joint political and security committees last week but have made little progress toward a full ceasefire or political transition plan.