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Saudi Arabia Answers Pompeo’s Call For Yemen Ceasefire By Ramping Up Airstrikes

The Saudi Air Force has unleashed a massive attack across the Sana’a Governorate over the last 48 hours, reports Middle East-based Al Masdar News citing Yemeni sources on the ground. This appears to be the Saudi response to the U.S. call for a ceasefire “in the next 30 days” announced by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a mere two days ago.

According to the reports from Sana’a, the Saudi Air Force heavily bombarded the capital city and its surroundings, hitting a number of sites that allegedly have a Houthi presence. The string of airstrikes also hit civilian neighborhoods, including the area around Sana’a International Airport — all resulting in an unknown number of casualties. Given the timing it appears the Saudis are ready to unleash as many bombs as possible ahead of a potential US negotiated ceasefire suggested by Pompeo and Mattis; or alternately it could be the Saudis are now quickly escalating the war further to ensure a ceasefire cannot be obtained.

This comes as the Trump administration has released early details of a UN-brokered peace plan aimed at ending the war in Yemen, beginning with a ceasefire within a month along with talks to be held in Sweden.

Past airstrikes on Yemen’s capital of Sana’a via Reuters

Perhaps predictably, The Washington Post blames the rebels for not coming to the negotiating table, something which the Saudi coalition has certainly also refused to do over the past three years of war:

Friday’s assault comes two days after the United States called for a cease-fire and negotiations within 30 days to end the war. The fresh offensive could be designed to pressure the Houthis to come to the negotiating table, which the rebels have so far avoided.

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