Houthis will trade Saudi officers for freedom of Hamas 'abductees': chief

Houthis will trade Saudi officers for freedom of Hamas 'abductees': chief
The chief of Yemen's Houthi militants gave a speech saying the faction is 'renew[ing]' its proposal to exchange imprisoned Saudi officers for Hamas detainees.
2 min read
10 August, 2021
Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, the chief of Yemen's Houthi militants, made his remarks in a speech [Getty]

The chief of Yemen's Houthi militants has said the rebel group will free Saudis it holds if Riyadh releases Hamas detainees.

It comes after Saudi Arabia sentenced 69 suspected Palestinian and Jordanian Hamas members to jail.

Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi said that the movement, who is it war with a Saudi-led coalition, would release Saudi detainees in exchange for the freedom of Palestinians jailed in Saudi Arabia.

"We renew our offer to the Saudi regime to exchange its imprisoned officers for the release of the Palestinian abductees," he said.

Riyadh has not given a response to Al-Houthi's proposal, the Anadolu Agency said.

Among those jailed on Sunday was a former local representative of Hamas, Mohammed Al-Khudari, 82, who was given a 15-year sentence.

Al-Houthi's comments were part of a speech to mark the beginning of the Islamic new year.

He claimed the UAE and Saudi Arabia's issues with Hamas is due to their conflict with Israel, the rebels' Saba News Agency reported on Monday.

The UAE signed a normalisation deal with Israel in September while Saudi Arabia is thought to be in contact with Israel regarding Iran and other security issues.

Both countries have taken a tough line against the Muslim Brotherhood, which Hamas has connections with, in recent years.

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"[We] would welcome the Saudi regime's stance if it stood by the side of the Palestinian resistance [Hamas]," he said.

The Houthis are also at war with the Islah Movement, a Yemeni political and militia group that is part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al-Houthi suggested that the Saudi-UAE crackdown on Hamas contravenes the teachings of Islam.

The Houthi chief also paid tribute to Hezbollah, after the Lebanese faction's recent exchange of missile fire with Israel.

"We stand by [Hezbollah] and by the axis of resistance," he said, referring to the governments and armed organisations that appear to oppose Israel and the US in the Middle East.