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Yemen’s Houthis, Saleh’s Party Accept UN Peace Terms

After a Tuesday night suicide bombing next to a mosque, people gather at the site in Sana'a, Yemen, Oct. 7, 2015. Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for the blast, which killed seven people.

The political party of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Yemen's Shi'ite Houthi group have accepted a United Nations-brokered peace plan aimed at ending the country's bloody conflict.

The two groups, which are allied, said on Wednesday they have notified U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of their willingness to join the peace talks.

Both the Houthis and Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, said in letters to Ban that they are committed to implementing the seven-point peace plan proposed by the U.N. in talks in Oman last month.

Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has insisted that Houthi fighters pull back from territory seized over the past year before his government would participate in the U.N.-brokered peace talks.

The United Nations and aid agencies have raised alarm about the human cost the war.

War crimes alleged

On Wednesday, the rights group Amnesty International alleged that the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes on the Iranian-backed Houthis is guilty of war crimes. The group urged countries that have been arming the coalition, such as the United States, to stop doing so.

Multiple parties have been fighting for control of Yemen since the Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sana'a, one year ago. The fighting and Saudi-led airstrikes on the Houthis have killed about 5,000 people, including many civilians, and created a humanitarian disaster. Many Yemenis are in desperate need of food and medicine.

Gulf Arab states, with the exception of Oman, have joined the Saudi-led coalition in the fight against the Houthis.

Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down as Yemen's president in 2012 under a pact forged by the regional Gulf Cooperation Council.