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Houthi rebels in Yemen say they will stop attacks on Saudi Arabia

Mohammed Huwais, AFP | Newly recruited Houthi fighters chant slogans as they ride in a military vehicle in Sanaa, Yemen, January 3, 2017.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced late Friday night that they were stopping drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, one week after they claimed responsibility for a strike that crippled a key oil facility in the kingdom.

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The U.S. and the Saudis blamed the September 14 attack on Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen. Iran denies any responsibility.

Mahdi al-Mashat, head of the Houthis’ supreme political council, which runs rebel-held areas in Yemen, said the group is waiting for a “positive response” from Saudi Arabia. His comments were carried by the Houthi-run al-Masirah satellite TV.

The announcement could be a first step toward a wider ceasefire in Yemen, but it remained unclear, and there was no immediate response from the Saudi-led coalition.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern about a coalition airstrike early Friday around Al Hali district, north of the port city of Hodeida in Yemen. Guterres appealed for restraint and said the warring parties had agreed to respect a December cease-fire deal in the Hodeida area, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and sparked what the U.N. describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The recent attacks on Saudi Arabia knocked out more than half of the country’s daily crude oil production.

(AP)

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