Yemen’s Houthi rebel leader on Saturday announced a three-day halt to hostilities after an escalation of missile, drone and ground attacks on Saudi Arabia over the past week, the rebel-run Al-Masirah TV reported.
The unilateral truce was announced by Mahdi Al-Mashat, president of the Houthi ruling political council. In a speech marking the seventh anniversary of the war, Al-Mashat said the rebels are “ready to turn the halt of the confrontations into a final commitment if Saudi Arabia announces the withdrawal of all foreign troops from our land and water territories.”
Rebel forces have targeted key infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, including Aramco facilities in Jeddah, where a Formula 1 race is taking place this weekend. Coalition forces have responded by launching airstrikes against sites in Yemen, renewing concern over the escalation in regional violence.
Just two hours after the suspension was announced, rebels accused Saudi-led coalition fighter jets of launching strikes on Houthi targets in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, Al-Masirah TV said. The strikes hit the Al-Nahdin military compound, south of the capital, and also targeted Houthi sites in Hajjah province, which borders Saudi Arabia, according to the report.
Al-Mashat said the halt to the hostilities include the oil-rich city of Marib, which had been the scene of fierce battles and consolidated Houthi attacks since last year. He also said they are ready to release all coalition detainees and Yemen government forces war prisoners, including the brother of President Abdu Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in return for the release of all Houthi prisoners.
The Houthi spokesman and chief peace negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam called on Saudi Arabia to “show its seriousness about peace and positively deal with the peace initiative” by lifting their blockade and withdrawing foreign forces from Yemen.
“Then peace will prevail and then talks about political solutions can be done in a quiet atmosphere away from any military or humanitarian pressure,” he said in a statement on Twitter Saturday.