Yemen’s Houthis announce three-day ceasefire after Saudi attacks

Statement comes a day after a wave of drone and missile attacks hit targets across Saudi Arabia.

Yemen’s Houthi group has announced a three-day truce and dangled the prospect of a “permanent” ceasefire if the Saudi-led coalition ends its operations against the impoverished country.

The statement came a day after a wave of drone and missile attacks hit targets across Saudi Arabia, including an oil plant near the Formula One race in Jeddah, triggering an inferno.

On Saturday, at least seven people were reported to have been killed in air raids conducted by the Saudi-led coalition on Sanaa and Hodeidah.

The Houthis said the attack by the coalition hit a power plant, a fuel supply station and the state-run social insurance office in the capital.

Later, Houthi political leader Mahdi al-Mashat announced the suspension of missile and drone attacks and all military actions for a period of three days.

“This is a sincere invitation and practical steps to rebuild trust and take all the sides from the arena of talks to the arena of acts,” al-Mashat said.

“And we are ready to turn this declaration into a final and permanent commitment in the event that Saudi Arabia commits to ending the siege and stopping its raids on Yemen once and for all,” he added.

There was no immediate response from Saudi Arabia.

The truce came on the seventh anniversary of the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention to support Yemen’s government after the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, and left millions facing starvation and disease.

On Saturday, the coalition also gave the Houthis a three-hour deadline to withdraw weapons from Sanaa airport and from two ports on the Red Sea, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported, without specifying what time the deadline would expire.

The escalation came as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) plans on hosting the warring sides for talks later this month.

The Houthis have rejected the Saudi capital Riyadh, where the head office of the GCC is, as a venue for talks, saying they would not conduct negotiations in “enemy countries”.

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