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Yemen Rebels Accept Saudi Cease-Fire Plan

  • VOA News

A man loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh stands guard at Saleh's house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

A man loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh stands guard at Saleh's house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Shi'ite Houthi rebel fighters in Yemen said they have accepted a five-day humanitarian cease-fire proposal from Saudi Arabia, set to begin Tuesday.

Sunday's announcement came just hours after warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition bombed the residence of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital, Sana'a. Saleh was not believed to have been home at the time, and later appeared on television standing in front of the rubble.

Last week, the United States and Saudi Arabia announced plans for the cease-fire in Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition is waging an air campaign against the Houthis, a northern Yemeni militia that overran parts of the country in recent months.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday defended the military intervention, which he said was requested by Yemeni leadership, to "salvage Yemen and its people" from what he called a foreign-supported, "sect-oriented group" that threatened regional stability.

Smoke rises from a house of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh after a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Smoke rises from a house of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh after a Saudi-led airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Aid agencies report Saudi bombings and Houthi fighting have killed hundreds of civilians since March.

The conflict has also left the country in need of basic supplies. The United Nations World Food Program said a ship it chartered has docked in Yemen, carrying fuel needed to extend humanitarian relief throughout the embattled country.

US reaction

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had urged Houthi supporters to encourage the rebels to accept the pause.

Kerry said the terms of the cease-fire are straightforward.

“Do not shoot. Do not move around and start to reposition and take advantage of this,” Kerry said. “This is a humanitarian pause and they should treat it accordingly."

On Saturday, Saudi-led coalition warplanes pummeled the northwestern Yemeni province of Saada and hit the capital's international airport on the 45th day of fighting against the Houthi rebels.

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