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Saudi-led coalition exploiting UN-brokered Yemen ceasefire to mobilize mercenaries: Yemeni defense chief

A man and a soldier inspect damage at a gas station hit by a Saudi-led airstrike in Sa’ada, Yemen, on March 26, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The Yemeni defense minister in the National Salvation Government says the Saudi-led military coalition is taking advantage of the ongoing UN-brokered ceasefire in order to mobilize allied militants in line with its hostile plots.

Major General Mohammad al-Atifi said Saudi-led coalition forces and their allies have exposed their conspiratorial intentions by hampering conflict resolution initiatives and all efforts aimed at establishment of inclusive peace throughout Yemen.

He noted that Yemeni armed forces and fighters from Popular Committees are committed to the directives given by the leader of Ansarullah resistance movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.

“We had hoped that the UN truce would put an end to the ongoing aggression and siege and would build up confidence and sense of responsibility. This is while the unfolding developments show that invaders do not abide by the terms and conditions of the ceasefire,” Atifi said.

“We are facing an enemy that does not believe in peace, and its criminal approach and deep hatred towards our people is crystal clear in all its actions,” the Yemeni defense chief pointed out.

Atifi went on to say that the Saudi-led coalition of aggression is exploiting the UN-sponsored truce to mobilize its allied militants and implement its fiendish plots, including the newly formed presidential council.

The Yemeni defense minister said the Riyadh-led alliance is preparing for a new round of confrontations with Yemeni forces, and is inciting its mercenaries to provoke another conflict in the false belief that it will be spared from any harm.

“We are telling members of the Saudi-led coalition that their dreams will never realize, and that future retaliatory strikes will be much more stinging than previous ones. We are fully prepared to face any possible scenario,” Atifi highlighted.

Truce extension 'meaningless' as Yemen remains under siege

Meanwhile, a high-ranking Yemeni official says it would be “meaningless and absurd” for the Sana’a-based National Salvation Government to extend the UN-sponsored nationwide ceasefire that took effect at the start of the month of Ramadan, as long as the Yemeni nation is still suffering from the crippling siege.

Deputy Prime Minister for Defense Affairs Jalal al-Ruwishan stressed that Yemeni army troops and Popular Committees fighters are fully prepared to respond to any act of aggression in case the other side violates the UN ceasefire or seeks to obstruct the opening of Sana’a airport or the port of Hudaydah.

Ruwaishan emphasized that the Sana’a-based administration will agree to extend the truce, which started on April 2 and expires on Wednesday night, only if the suffering of Yemeni people is alleviated.

Additionally, a Yemeni military official said the Saudi-led coalition forces and their allied militants have violated the ongoing UN-brokered ceasefire at least 111 times during the past 24 hours.

The official, who asked not to be named, told Yemen’s official Saba news agency that the violations included 57 flights of Saudi-led warplanes and reconnaissance drones in the skies of Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Hajjah, Jawf, Sa'ada and Bayda provinces as well as across the borders.

He added that positions of the army and Popular Committees also came under missile strikes and artillery shelling for at least 11 times in Hajjah, Ma’rib, Sa'ada and areas close to Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Jizan.

The official pointed out that 42 shooting incidents were also recorded in Ma’rib, Ta’izz, Sa'ada, Hajjah and Dhale provinces as well as border fronts, where shots were fired at residential buildings in addition to positions of the Yemeni army and Popular Committees.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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