Yemen’s Houthi rebels are on high alert and “ready” to engage in confrontation if their demands are not met and if attacks by a Saudi-led coalition continue, the group’s spokesman said.
“If the enemy…does not respond to the rightful demands of the people, represented in ending its aggression and siege, and withdrawing its forces, then we are ready for confrontation,” said Brigadier General Yahya Saree during a visit to the Jizan region.
“We in the armed forces are fully equipped and ready to implement the directives of the command and to carry out naval or land operations,” he added.
The Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition, which supports the internationally-recognised Yemeni government currently based in Aden, have been engaged in conflict since 2015 as a result of the Shia rebels seizing the capital Sanaa the year before.
The years-long fighting has resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, with both sides being accused of grave abuses by rights groups.
But since a China-brokered deal in March saw Riyadh and Tehran re-establish ties, there have been talks between the Saudis and the Houthis to end the war in Yemen. A Saudi delegation visited Sanaa in April for peace talks.
Despite this, the Houthis have warned that they would continue targeting Saudi Arabia if talks fail.
In early June, the Houthis – who are in control of much of northern Yemen – accused Saudi Arabia of dumping nuclear waste in waters in the south and east of Yemen.