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Houthi leader says Yemeni rebels will stop their attacks on Saudi Arabia

Mahdi al-Mashat says he hopes kingdom will return gesture by halting Saudi air strikes on Yemen
Saudi Arabia and UAE have been leading military campaign against Yemeni rebels since 2015 (AFP)

Yemen's Houthi rebels will stop its attacks on Saudi territories, the president of the group's supreme political council, Mahdi al-Mashat, announced in a peace initiative calling for an end to the conflict.

Mashat's comments come almost a week after the Houthis claimed an attack on Saudi oil facilities that disrupted the energy markets, cutting global oil production by 5 percent. 

'We reserve the right to respond if this initiative is not accepted'

- Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthi's supreme political council

"We expect a similar response to this gesture in an announcement to stop the targeting and aerial bombardment of our Yemeni territories," he said on Friday, as reported by the Houthi-aligned Almasirah TV.

"We reserve the right to respond if this initiative is not accepted."

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been leading a military campaign against the Yemeni rebels to restore the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The conflict has devastated the already impoverished country, killing thousands of people and bringing Yemen to the verge of famine in what the United Nations has called the largest humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

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Riyadh accuses the Houthis of being proxies of its regional rival, Iran, but the rebels say they are defending Yemen from the kingdom's aggression.

From the beginning of the war, the Houthis have launched drones and ballistic missiles into Saudi territory, but those attacks have intensified over the past few months.

However, Saudi and US officials have dismissed the Houthi claim of responsibility for the oil facility attack, accusing Iran directly of perpetrating the incident.

Tehran has denied responsibility, calling the attack a "reciprocal response to aggression against Yemen" by the Yemeni people against the Saudi-led war on their country.

In his statement on Friday, the Houthis' Mashat said prolonging the war in Yemen is not in anyone's interest and may lead to "dangerous developments" that would mostly affect Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Mashat also urged lifting the siege against the country and allowing goods into the port city of Hodeida and Sanaa's international airport.

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