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Houthi leader: Yemenis have right to resist Saudi ‘aggression’

The Iranian-backed Houthis are fighting across the country's western region

Published: Updated:

The leader of Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi militias said on Sunday that Yemenis had the right to resist what he described as Saudi “aggression” by any means.

The tone of Abdel-Malek al-Houthi’s first public speech since Saudi-led airstrikes began targeting the militia more than three weeks ago suggested he was in no mood to compromise despite pressure from a Sunni Arab coalition.

Saudi Arabia is leading an alliance of Arab and Muslim countries following a plea for help by President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi who was facing an attempt to overthrow him by the Houthi militias, an armed rebel group backed by Iran.

Al-Houthi also accused Saudi Arabia on Sunday of trying to invade and occupy the country and bring it under its “hegemony.”

Speaking from the Houthi stronghold city of Saada, the militia chief said: “The U.S. is sponsoring the attacks. The U.S. is directing the attacks against Yemen,” as quoted by the state-owned Iranian English-language news channel Press TV.

Previous addresses from the Houthi leader include a January speech on Yemen state TV, which his militias had seized earlier. In his address, the militia chief demanded Hadi enact reforms to give his group more control.

The Iranian-backed Houthis are fighting across the country's western region in an attempt to wrestle control from the internationally-backed government of President Hadi.

Since late March, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition in what it calls "Operation Decisive Storm" to fight back against Houthi forces and forces loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

(With Reuters)