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China supports calls for immediate Yemen ceasefire

China has renewed calls made by Russia and the Red Cross for an immediate truce in Yemen to enable the delivery of aid and medical supplies. Fighting between Shiite Houthi rebels and Sunni government troops rages on.

China said on Tuesday that it was deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen. In the Aden, the country's second-largest city, more than 140 people have been killed in 24 hours.

"We call on all relevant parties to quickly implement a ceasefire and avoid further civilian casualties," Chinese Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday that aid workers had been unable to deliver essential medical assistance to the capital, Sanaa, and to Aden because of the air and sea blockade by the coalition.

Doubts about ground operation

Fierce fighting raged on over Easter weekend and into the new week with loyalist forces, backed by Saudi-led naval shelling, also thwarting a new rebel assault in Aden on Tuesday.

A humanitarian crisis has been unleashed in the port city by a week of fighting between the Houthis and their allies - military units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh - and loyalists to self-exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago as rebels advanced on Aden where he had set up a temporary capital in the port city.

Military experts say the intense fighting makes any ground operation in Aden much more difficult, especially if the administrative center falls.

Rising death toll

Pakistan's defense minister said on Monday that Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to contribute soldiers to the military campaign, as well as air and naval assets. Pakistan's parliament is currently debating the request and is expected to vote in the coming days.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 540 people have been killed and some 1,700 have been injured during fighting in Yemen since March 19.

A UNICEF spokesman also said on Tuesday that at least 74 children have been killed and 44 would since March 26.

kb/jil (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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