Pause in Saudi Raids on Hudaydah Aimed at Buying Time, Says Houthi

A Houthi spokesman says a pause in Saudi airstrikes against Hudaydah is not a submission to international pressure but a bid to buy time and reinforce the military strength for a fresh offensive.

“In every round of aggression against Yemen, the escalation begins and then dies down, mostly without declaring a truce,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam wrote in a tweet on Thursday night.

“Given the recent developments in the battle on the ground, the aggressive coalition is trying to pretend that it has halted its attacks [on Hudaydah] in response to global pressure or to allow the dispatch of humanitarian aid, but that’s a big lie,” he said.

 Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have deployed about 10,000 new troops to Yemen's west coast after repeated campaigns to seize Hudaydah were thwarted by Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni army.

The invaders have hit a stiff wall of resistance put up by the city's protectors who have pushed back the militants and mercenaries.

The truth, Abdulsalam said, "is that the coalition is preparing for a new round of aggression, which needs additional time.”

“We have not yet seen any serious effort by the aggressors to find a real political solution or a real ceasefire, and these are just media propaganda and agreements between the states of aggression or the so-called quartet – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and America,” he said in another tweet.

Abdulsalam said the quartet is the very countries that, by their own admission, have directly waged the war against Yemen, especially its western coast which includes the port city of Hudaydah.

"Although the position of our people, the Army and popular committees is an essentially defensive one to confront an unjustified aggression they have begun, we

welcome any credible cessation of aggression, if they remain committed, away from political gains," he noted.

Abdulsalam also called for a comprehensive, fair and equitable political solution that does not exclude anyone or target any component that preserves the sovereignty and identity of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Wednesday paused their offensive aimed at taking the strategic port city of Hudaydah from the Houthi fighters.

Sources said that Saudi-backed mercenaries had been "ordered" to halt the offensive until further notice. They said they would resume operations if they came under attack.

The cessation of attacks came a day after Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, urged a ceasefire around Hudaydah.

The Houthis on Thursday denied reports that a ceasefire had been reached with the coalition over Hudaydah.

Houthi government spokesman Dhaif-Allah al-Shami said Saudi Arabia has been trying to ease the international humanitarian pressure by spreading rumors about a truce.

"The reports of Hudaydah truce is baseless and aimed at misleading the world public opinion," he added.

"What has been going on in Hudaydah was that the coalition forces are preparing for a further military escalation," al-Shami noted.

The Hudaydah offensive, which first began earlier this year and was re-launched last month after a pause of several months, could deprive millions of people already on the verge of starvation from access to food or medicine, the UN has warned.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the former government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthis.

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