Sat, 19 Oct 2019

Iran-backed Huthi rebels in Yemen say they are halting all drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia a week after claiming responsibility for a strike that blasted a key Saudi oil facility.

Mehdi al-Mashat, head of the Huthis' supreme council, late on September 20 announced the 'halt of all attacks against the territory of Saudi Arabia.'

He said the group is waiting for a 'positive response' from Riyadh.

A Saudi-led military coalition did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the announcement.

The Shi'ite Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the September 14 attack on Saudi Arabia's largest oil-producing facility, raising tensions to new heights in the already tense region.

Despite the Huthi claim, U.S. and Saudi officials blamed the attack on Tehran and have warned that all options, including military, remain on the table.

Iran denied involvement and warned the United States that any attack would lead to an 'all-out war.'

The incident followed a series of similar attacks by Huthi rebels against sites in Saudi Arabia over the past year.

The Yemeni government, supported by Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies, has been battling the Huthi rebels since 2015.

The civil war has killed thousands of civilians and caused shortages of food and medical care that have affected millions.

Many observers have called it a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

On September 20, the U.S. military said President Donald Trump had authorized a "moderate" bolstering of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following the attack on Saudi oil infrastructure.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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