Houthis and Saudi forces exchange prisoners

Published March 29th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
The fighters of the Houthi movement brandish their weapons during a rally against Saudi airstrikes. (AFP/File)
The fighters of the Houthi movement brandish their weapons during a rally against Saudi airstrikes. (AFP/File)

A Saudi-led military coalition said on Monday it had completed a prisoner swap in Yemen, exchanging nine Saudi prisoners for 109 Yemeni nationals ahead of a planned truce and peace talks aimed at ending the year-long war with Houthi rebels.

The prisoner swap coincided with fresh airstrikes by both the coalition and by US warplanes on extremist militants in southern Yemen, according to Reuters.

The coalition did not say which group the swap was made with, but the Houthi movement said on Sunday it had exchanged prisoners with Riyadh as a first step toward ending a humanitarian crisis prompted by the war.

Saudi Arabia received its nationals on Sunday, said the coalition statement published on SPA. The alliance "hopes to begin a truce in conflict areas of the Republic of Yemen" it added.

Yemeni media said the nine Saudis were soldiers. The freed Yemenis had been detained during operations in Yemen, SPA said.
The coalition said that border areas remained relatively calm.

It said it hoped to see the lull "spread to combat zones in order to facilitate the sending of humanitarian aid to all of Yemen's territory" and to support UN efforts to reach a political settlement.

The Civil Defense said on Sunday that eight people, including four children, had been wounded by fire from Yemen.


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