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Deaths, violence in Yemen complicating peace efforts

Sanaa, Yemen: The United Nations Yemen envoy called on Thursday for a transparent investigation into reports that air strikes killed at least 11 civilians, as surging violence complicates a U.N.-led peace process to end the six-year war. 

Martin Griffiths said attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure were unlawful and reprehensible and required thorough investigation, in a Twitter statement. Air strikes on Yemen's northern province of al-Jawf killed at least 11 civilians on Wednesday, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordination office in Yemen said. 

The health ministry under the control of Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement said air raids by a Saudi-led coalition hit residential houses in the al-Hazm district, killing 24 people and injuring seven more. At least five of those injured in Wednesday's strikes were taken to al-Tawra hospital in Sanaa, said Ahmed Sanad in the hospital's administration. Three had died at the time of the interview, including a 15-day old baby. 

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki told Reuters on Wednesday the reports will be investigated. Earlier this week the Houthis launched missiles and drones at Saudi border cities in what they called a response to air strikes that killed 10 civilians in the Hajjah region. The coalition later said it would investigate the matter.
Griffiths said several round of bilateral negotiations had taken place since April and were ongoing, on a draft text concerning a nationwide ceasefire, humanitarian and economic measures and a resumption of a political process to end the conflict.

The conflict, largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has killed more than 100,000 people and caused what the United Nations describes as the world's largest humanitarian crisis. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system.

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