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Yemen rejects peace talks with rebels

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The Yemeni government has rejected calls to return to peace talks with Shiite rebels fighting a five-year campaign in the north, and will continue its military operations that have so far killed hundreds and failed to quell the rebellion. The conflict, together with a separatist movement in the south, threatens to destabilize the country and make it more susceptible to becoming a haven for militant groups, including Al Qaeda.

Al Jazeera reports that opposition leader Hameed al-Ahmar had called for dialogue and cooperation to solve the crisis peacefully, but the government rejected the bid.

The government's commitment to its campaign comes amid a new bout of fighting on Thursday. Saba, Yemen's official news agency, reports that Yemeni forces killed 17 rebels and captured four others Thursday in the Saada province, where the rebellion is centered. But the Associated Press writes that the Houthis claimed they were able to repel the government's attack and inflicted a "large loss of life." The fresh fighting came just a week after the government declared a cease-fire for humanitarian reasons that ended after less than a day. More than 16,000 Yemenis have been displaced by the fighting, with thousands more unable to escape the conflict zone.

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