DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen’s Houthi forces launched a drone attack on an airport in southern Saudi Arabia, the Iran-aligned group’s military spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after Riyadh presented a new peace initiative that includes a nationwide ceasefire.
There was no immediate confirmation by Saudi authorities or the Saudi-led military coalition that has been battling the Houthis for six years, of an attack on Abha airport which has been repeatedly targeted by cross-border attacks.
“Our operations will continue as long as the aggression and siege continue,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a Twitter post.
Saudi Arabia and the United States have urged the group to accept the ceasefire initiative which Riyadh said would also include reopening Sanaa airport and allow fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port, both of which are under Houthi control.
The Houthis’ chief negotiator had told Reuters that the Saudi offer fell short of their demand for a complete lifting of the air and sea blockade, but that the group would continue to talk to Saudi Arabia, the United States and mediator Oman in pursuit of a peace deal.
The movement has stepped up drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, including on oil facilities, and a ground offensive to seize Yemen’s gas-rich Marib region. The coalition has responded with air strikes on Houthi military sites.
Yemen has been mired in violence since the Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital Sanaa.
The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who now control most of northern Yemen, deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alex Richardson and John Stonestreet
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