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The Latest: Yemen blast kills 5 foreign demining experts

January 21, 2019

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Yemen (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

A Saudi demining group says five of its international experts have been killed by an accidental explosion in Yemen while transporting mines and explosives to be destroyed.

The MASAM Demining Project says Monday that two South Africans, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar were killed a day earlier while transporting the material in the central Marib province to a remote location where it could be safely detonated. It says a British national was wounded.

The project, part of the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, began last year and seeks to remove unexploded ordnance from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015.

MASAM says the experts “lost their lives while attempting to bring safety and security to the Yemeni people, and their service to mankind will not be forgotten.”

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5:15 p.m.

Yemeni security officials say U.N. envoy Martin Griffiths has arrived in the capital, Sanaa, on an unannounced visit to discuss the “complex situation” in and around the coastal city of Hodeida, where Yemen’s warring parties agreed to a cease-fire last month and agreed on a prisoner exchange that has yet to take place.

Also under discussion from Monday will be disagreements between Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who hold Hodeida, and Retired Dutch Maj. Gen. Patrick Cammaert, who is heading a U.N. mission charged with monitoring the cease-fire.

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Iran-aligned rebels. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.

The officials spoke anonymously as they weren’t authorized to brief journalists.

— Ahmed al-Haj

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