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Yemen: Houthis release 350 prisoners including 3 Saudis

September 30, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Supporters of Houthis participate in march on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Houthis’ control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on 21 September 2019 [Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency]

The Houthis have today announced that they will release 350 prisoners, including three Saudis, under the supervision of the United Nations as part of a peace initiative.

This comes days after an ambush carried out by Houthi forces across the border into Saudi’s Najran province where the movement claimed to have captured thousands of Saudi troops – most of which were Yemeni mercenaries and some Saudi officers in addition to munitions.

This is the most significant of a string of cross-border raids carried out by the Houthis, although Saudi Arabia has yet to confirm the attack.

The Houthi’s Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA) said: “We have presented to the United Nations a unilateral initiative to release 350 prisoners and detainees from the other party who were included in the Stockholm agreement statements,”

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Abdul Qader Al-Murtada, head of the NCPA, explained that among the released prisoners are all the inmates who survived from the Saudi air strikes on Dhamar prison earlier this month, which killed over 100 non-combatants.

Speaking at a press conference on the Najran operation over the weekend, Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Saree stated that the group had “liberated” 350 kilometres square of territory in Najran. Likely in reference to the fact that historically, Najran was part of Yemen but was annexed by the Saudis following the Saudi-Yemeni war of 1934. Video evidence of the operation, dubbed “Victory from God” was also released yesterday, it has not been independently verified.