Yemen’s Ansar Allah (Houthis) group has threatened to strike targets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response to what it said was a coalition airstrike by Saudi and the UAE as part of what it called a military escalation in several parts of Yemen.
The group’s military spokesman, Brigadier-General Yahya Serai, said in remarks by Houthi media that the Saudi-led coalition and the United Arab Emirates had launched more than a dozen raids to support what he described as skulls and troop buildup on some fronts on the Yemeni-Saudi border.
He added that one of the raids launched by coalition warplanes targeted the beard area in Hodeidah province in western Yemen. The United Nations has been trying for weeks to stabilize the ceasefire in Hodeidah by setting up observation points.
Houthi military spokesman spoke of a military escalation in this region, considering it a clear violation of the Swedish peace agreement concluded in late 2018 under the auspices of the United Nations.
He also said that there was an escalation in the frontier fighting on the border, but stressed that what he described as aggressive states had been unable to make any significant progress and that they had received strong blows.
While the spokesman did not accurately identify the areas of offensive operations supported by the Saudi-Emirati coalition, Walsal media reported a Houthi Saudi missile and artillery shelling on the Razih and Moneeb areas in Saada, northern Yemen.
Recently, some front-line fighting has seen clashes between the Houthis and the Saudi forces despite reports of informal talks between the Houthi group and Saudi Arabia to reach a ceasefire.
A member of the Houthi political bureau, Mohammed al-Bakhiti, said that if Saudi and the UAE did not stop its raids on Yemen, the group could resume targeting the Saudi and Emirati depths.
About a week ago, Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi threatened to strike “harshest strikes” against the Kingdom unless what he called the aggression and blockade on Yemen ceased.
The Houthis have in the past adopted several attacks on energy facilities and military bases in Saudi Arabia. They also claimed to target locations in the UAE, including Abu Dhabi airport by drones.
Days ago, Reuters quoted three sources as saying the Saudi regime was stepping up informal talks with the Houthi group on a ceasefire.
According to the sources, the talks began in late September in Jordan, after the Houthis offered to stop firing rockets and launch cross-border drone attacks on Saudi cities, in return for the coalition halting air strikes.
“Talks on completing the security deal are now moving very quickly through several channels,” a fourth source said, but Riyadh still had concerns about its borders.
In turn, an official in the Saudi regime confirmed that the Kingdom has had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016, and that it is continuing contacts to establish peace in Yemen.
A Houthi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the group was considering an expanded ceasefire with Riyadh. “But our patience is running out,” he added.
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths said the United Nations hopes to end the conflict in the first months of 2020.