Yemen rebel chief says Huthis ready for more ‘sacrifices’

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SANAA (AFP) – Yemen rebel chief Abdelmalik al-Huthi said Sunday his fighters are ready to make more “sacrifices” against a Saudi-led coalition, in an address marking the third anniversary of the alliance s intervention.

“We are ready for more sacrifices because our people are more capable to resist against aggression,” said the leader of the Iran-allied rebels who have controlled Sanaa since 2014.

“It is a question that concerns our freedom, our dignity and our independence that cannot be bartered,” he added in a speech broadcast on the rebels Al-Masirah television.

The Huthis expelled pro-government forces from the capital in September 2014 and went on to seize swathes of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

This prompted the Saudi-led coalition to intervene militarily in Yemen on March 26, 2015 to help the government push back the Shiite Huthi rebels.

Since then, around 10,000 people have been killed and 53,000 wounded in Yemen, which is also battling cholera and diphtheria outbreaks.

The United Nations says living conditions in the war-scarred country have reached catastrophic levels and that 8.4 million people face imminent famine.

The Huthis plan a huge rally in Sanaa on Monday to mark the war s third anniversary.

“Three years of aggression have proved without any doubt that Yemen is facing aggression, invasion and an occupation,” Huthi said.

He accused main coalition members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of “war crimes” and said they were the “tools of an aggression inspired by the United States”.

Numerous rounds of UN-sponsored peace talks have failed to stem the bloodshed in Yemen.

And earlier this year clashes erupted between loyalist forces and southern separatists in the port city of Aden, where the government is based, leaving 38 dead and more than 200 wounded.

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