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Houthis initiate truce with Saudi Arabia
Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:43PM
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Houthi fighters in Yemen initiate a cease-fire offer with Saudi Arabia as fighting in the north continues to take its toll on civilians.

In an audio statement on the fighters' website, Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi said the fighters will retreat from their positions on the Saudi border.

Al-Houthi said the withdrawal offer is to stop the civilian casualties inflicted by Saudi attacks. He, however, warned that any military incursion into Yemen by the Saudis will result in an open-warfare.

The Shia fighters also announced that seven civilians have been killed in the latest Saudi air raids, adding that they have destroyed dozens of Saudi tanks and military vehicles since November.

"We are prepared to withdraw from [those] sites if... Saudi Arabia does not attack any one of us from its territory," a spokesman for the Houthis, Mohammed Abdel Salam, told AFP.

The conflict between the central government in Sana'a and the Houthis of northern Yemen began in 2004 and grew increasingly tense in August 2009 when the Yemeni army launched Operation Scorched Earth, alleging that the Houthi fighters had violated the terms of a ceasefire by taking foreign visitors hostage.

The Saudi military, which joined the war in November, says more than 130 of their soldiers have been killed in Yemen, with an unspecified number listed as missing in action.

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