Yemen rebels prevent food aid from reaching besieged city

Sanaa: Houthi rebels were blocking humanitarian aid from reaching to the besieged western city of Taiz, Yemeni security officials has said.

The officials said 18 trucks from the World Food Program were prevented from leaving the city of Ibb, north of Taiz, yesterday. Taiz has been besieged by the Shiite Houthi rebels and allied forces for the past year.

The attempt to deliver aid to Taiz came during a 48-hour truce announced on Saturday by the Saudi-led coalition, which is backing the internationally-recognized government against the Houthis.

The WFP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

US Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the cease-fire, urging all parties to abide by its conditions, which include allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid. In a statement yesterday, Kerry also declared that the US would support efforts by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to restart by the end of this month negotiations toward a comprehensive peace agreement.