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SANA’A: In response, the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes on the capital Sana’a and the port city of Hodeida – a key entry point for humanitarian aid – early on Saturday. The strikes on Sana’a reportedly killed eight civilians, the UN statement said.
The exchange of fire came ahead of the seventh anniversary of a Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention to support Yemen’s government against the Iran-backed Houthis, after they seized Sana’a in 2014.
Earlier on Saturday, Houthi rebels announced a three-day truce with the Saudi-led coalition and dangled the prospect of a “permanent” ceasefire.
Houthi political leader Mahdi al-Mashat appeared on TV to announce the “suspension of missile and drone strikes and all military actions for a period of three days”.
“And we are ready to turn this declaration into a final and permanent commitment in the event that Saudi Arabia commits to ending the siege and stopping its raids on Yemen once and for all,” he said.
There was no immediate response from Saudi Arabia.
Dujarric said the UN chief reiterated “his calls upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint” and to “urgently reach a negotiated settlement to end the conflict”.
The statement also condemned the coalition strikes, which destroyed explosive-laden boats in Yemen, for damaging a UN staff residential compound in Sana’a.
Thousands of people marched in the Yemeni capital on Saturday to denounce the conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands directly or indirectly, according to the UN, and left millions on the brink of famine.