Houthis justify attacks on Saudi Arabia as 'response to spurned peace moves'

Houthis justify attacks on Saudi Arabia as 'response to spurned peace moves'
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the rebel Supreme Revolutionary Committee said recent attacks on Saudi Arabia were a response to the kingdom's avoidance of peace talks.
2 min read
27 May, 2019
The head of the Houthis' Supreme Revolutionary Committee made the remarks to Reuters [Getty]
A leading figure in Yemen's Houthi movement justified recent cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia as a response to the kingdom's rejection of "peace initiatives".

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the president of the rebel's Supreme Revolutionary Committee, rejected claims that the recent attacks have been carried out on Iran's orders, according to Saudi and US accusations.

"We are independent in our decisions and ... we are not subordinated to anyone," al-Houthi told Reuters by phone.

The remarks came after the rebels confirmed a fourth attack on Saudi Arabia, most recently targeting hangers containing Saudi war planes in the southwest of the kingdom.

The airport has been the target of several attacks this week, with an armed drone hitting a weapons depot at the base on Tuesday according to Al-Masirah.

Saudi Arabia confirmed there had been an attack that day but said the drone had targeted "civilian infrastructure" without mentioning any casualties.

Earlier, the rebels also struck Saudi Arabia’s main oil pipeline near Riyadh, prompting Saudi authorities to temporarily shut down the station.

Al-Houthi told Reuters the rebels had initially agreed to halt raids last year "in good faith" and had been ready to take more steps.

Read more: Yemen in Focus: Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia aggravate Gulf tensions

"But unfortunately the aggressor countries misinterpreted these efforts (as weakness) and regarded them with contempt and indifference," al-Houthi added.

He pointed toward the rebels supposed withdrawal from Hodeida which he said was a gesture that was not reciprocated by the Saudi-led coalition. 

The Hodeida pullback is in line with a ceasefire deal for Hodeida reached in Stockholm in December, however the internationally recognised government of Yemen, which is backed by the Saudi-led coalition, believes move was nothing more than a rebel ploy.

Saudi Arabia has responded to Houthi attacks on the kingdom with more airstrikes on Yemen, which have killed dozens, including children.

The Yemen conflict exacerbated after a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to reinstate the Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi government after the rebels overran the capital and other major cities.

The conflict, which forced Hadi to relocate to Saudi Arabia, has killed tens of thousands people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say. 

The fighting has triggered what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million - more than two-thirds of the population - in need of aid.

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