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Top Houthi in Yemen Floats Truce Package With Saudi Arabia

  • VOA News

People gather at the site of a Saudi-led air strike in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, Sept. 22, 2016.

People gather at the site of a Saudi-led air strike in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, Sept. 22, 2016.

A top member of Yemen's armed Houthi rebel movement has offered to stop attacking targets on the Saudi Arabian side of the border, if a Saudi-led air coalition stops bombing Houthi targets inside Yemen and lifts a blockade of the country.

The proposal came Sunday from Saleh al-Samad, the head of an Iran-backed Houthi political council seeking to wrest control of Yemen from the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Samad, whose fighters are backed by Shi'ite Iran, called on Saudi Arabia to stop what it called "naval, air and land aggression." He also urged the Saudis to "cease air aids and lift the naval blockade of our country."

There was no immediate Saudi response to the proposal, which Samad made in a document published on an official Yemen website.

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis march in support of a new combined governing council that the Shiite Houthi rebels and their ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, announced late last month, in the rebel-held capital, Sana'a, Yemem, Aug. 20, 2016.

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis march in support of a new combined governing council that the Shiite Houthi rebels and their ally, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, announced late last month, in the rebel-held capital, Sana'a, Yemem, Aug. 20, 2016.

The Houthis, who rose up against the Hadi government in 2014, are allied with soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. They later seized Yemen's capital, Sana'a, and forced President Hadi to flee to the Saudi capital.

For their part, Hadi's supporters have repeatedly accused Saleh of using Islamic State and al-Qaida fighters loosely allied in the fight against the government to target Hadi's forces.

In March 2015, the Saudis responded to Houthi military operations by forming a coalition of regional Sunni governments that began launching air strikes in Yemen in support of Hadi, after his return to the southern port city of Aden.

The United Nations says at least 10,000 - more than half of them civilians - have been killed in the conflict.

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