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Yemen asks rebels to implement truce to end war

Rebel leaders’ fugitive brother sentenced to 15 years in jail

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Yemen has handed over to Houthi rebels a timetable to implement the government's ceasefire terms, in an effort to end the conflict in the north of the country, a Yemeni presidential adviser said on Saturday.

"The security committee has drawn up a timetable ... and it has been handed over to (rebel leader Abdul-Malik) al-Houthi through mediators," Abdul-Karim al-Iryani told reporters.

"If he signs it, the war will stop," he said, adding that committees including rebel representatives would be set up to oversee the implementation of the six truce terms.

The rebels have said they would accept conditions set by Sanaa for a ceasefire that include the removal of rebel checkpoints, withdrawal of forces and clarification of the fate of kidnapped foreigners.

The government says the rebels must also return captured military and civilian equipment, stay out of local politics and end border hostilities with forces of neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

The government’s initiative revived tentative feelers to end six years of fighting following the death of 23 Yemeni soldiers in twin rebel attacks in the northern mountains.

Rebels ambushed a military supply convoy in Wadi al-Jabara district on the road between the province of Saada on the Saudi border and Al-Jawf province farther east, killing 15 soldiers on Friday, tribal chiefs said.

Rebel fighters killed another eight soldiers in clashes on Friday in Saada town, the rebels said on their website.

The security committee has ... and it has been handed over to al-Houthi through mediators. If he signs it, the war will stop

Yemeni presidential adviser

A military source confirmed that rebels had launched an offensive against the town from the suburbs, but said it had been repulsed and that several rebel fighters had been killed.

The rebels also attacked the home of a leading trial chief in Saada province, Othman Mujalli, who is a member of the Yemeni parliament and recently rallied to the government, provincial officials said.

Mortar fire killed Mujalli's son, Hamid, and four other civilians, they said.

Houthi sentenced

The new fighting came as a Yemeni court handed down a 15-year jail sentence against the fugitive brother of Shiite rebel leader Abdul Malak al-Houthi after convicting him of carrying out acts of terror.

The court found Yahia al-Houthi guilty in absentia of plotting the murders of important figures, including the American ambassador in Sanaa.

It also convicted him of being in a terrorist organization, assaulting the constitutional order, disseminating tendentious information and contacts with foreign powers.

Houthi, who has fled to Germany, was elected to parliament in 2003 on the ticket of the General People's Congress of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but his parliamentary immunity was lifted late last year.

His brother heads the Zaidi Shiite rebels who have been fighting Yemeni troops in the northern mountains since 2004.

The defense ministry's online newspaper, September 26, said on Saturday that eleven Houthi rebels were killed in their stronghold of Saada.

The conflict with the northern rebels, who complain of social, religious and economic discrimination, started in 2004, but intensified last year. Yemen also faces a secessionist movement in the south and a resurgent al-Qaeda.