As Saudi forces continue to pound the positions of the Yemeni rebels who infiltrated into its borders, Houthi leader Yehia al-Houthi called for a ceasefire and expressed his group's willingness to engage in dialogue in an interview with Al Arabiya late on Wednesday.
"We call upon Saudi Arabia to stop its military attacks and start negotiations," he said, adding, "Our war is not with Saudi Arabia."
But Saudi forces continued to increase their reinforcement deploying more troops and arsenal in a clear sign of what deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan called a continued operation to clear the kingdom's borders of all Houthi rebels and force them to retreat to the Yemeni territories.
Around 1,300 Saudi paratroopers left the Tabuk base heading towards the conflict zone. Ammunition was also transferred through an air bridge set at the local Abdullah airport in Jizan.
A group of Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi police station two days ago. They exchanged fire with the Saudi army then fled to a hospital.
Hours later, the rebels resumed shooting from the hospital, losing two of their group members before the rest was able to flee to another area.
Saudi’s main civil defense center at al-Khauba, located in the combat zone, is to be closed following unexpected attacks on civil targets such as a hospital and a police station, Al Arabiya reported. The center will be transferred to the more secure area of Ahad al-Masareha, 50 kilometers north of the borderline.
Civil defense teams are equipped with weapons and received combat training in preparation for any unexpected rebel attacks on their facilities.
After the Saudi army made strong statements regarding its preparation to crush the Houthi insurgency, many rebel leaders were reported to have called for a ceasefire and to have shown their readiness to look for other means to resolve the conflict.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid, edited by Mustapha Ajbaili)
We call upon Saudi Arabia to stop its military attacks and start negotiations. Our war is not with Saudi Arabia
Houthi leader Yehia al-Houthi