Houthis accept Saudi proposal of five-day ceasefire

02:37 PM | 10 May, 2015
Houthis accept Saudi proposal of five-day ceasefire

ADEN (Web Desk) - Houthi fighters in Yemen accepted on Sunday a five-day humanitarian ceasefire proposed by their adversary Saudi Arabia but said they would respond to any violations by the coalition forces.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia had said on Friday that the ceasefire could begin on Tuesday if the Houthi militia agreed to the pause, which would let in badly needed food and medical supplies.

Backed by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthis and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Colonel Sharaf Luqman, spokesperson for the Houthi-allied army, said on Sunday that Yemeni forces agreed to the truce but would confront any attacks by Hadi loyalists on battlefronts which stretch across much of the impoverished country.

The Houthis say their campaign is aimed at defeating al Qaeda militants based in Yemen and accuse Hadi's forces of supporting the group.

"Any military violation of the ceasefire from al Qaeda and those who stand with it ... will be responded to," Luqman said in a statement published by Saba news agency.

Arab air strikes and heavy shelling on Sunday rocked the southern city of Aden, the epicenter of fighting for more than six weeks, and southern fighters questioned the proposed pause.

"We doubt that the Houthis would stick to a ceasefire or truce because they have repeatedly broken political commitments they have made in the past," a pro-Hadi militiaman in the city told newsmen.