The Houthi rebels said the peace initiative could be a lasting commitment if the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen stopped air strikes and lifted port restrictions.

A Yemeni rebel attack on a Saudi oil plant set off a huge fire near Jeddah's Formula One circuit on Friday, triggering a swift retaliation.
A Yemeni rebel attack on a Saudi oil plant set off a huge fire near Jeddah's Formula One circuit on Friday, triggering a swift retaliation. (AP)

Yemen's Houthis have said they are suspending missile and drone strikes on Saudi Arabia for three days.

The peace initiative, the Iran-backed group suggested on Saturday, could be a lasting commitment if the Saudi-led coalition fighting it stopped air strikes and lifted port restrictions.

Mahdi al Mashat, the head of the Houthis' political office, also announced a three-day suspension of ground offensive operations in Yemen, including in the gas producing region of Marib.

In a speech broadcast on television, Mashat added that the group was ready to release all prisoners, including the brother of Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Saudi-led coalition has unleashed a barrage of air strikes on the capital and a strategic Red Sea city, officials said earlier on Saturday.

The overnight airstrikes on Sanaa and Hodeida — both held by the Houthis — came a day after the rebels attacked an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jeddah, their highest-profile assault yet on the kingdom.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia assures maximum security for F1 after Houthi attack

Brutal conflict

Brigadier general Turki al Malki, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, said the strikes targeted “sources of threat” to Saudi Arabia, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency, or SPA.

He accused the Houthis of using civilian infrastructure, such as Hodeida's ports and the Sanaa airport, to launch attacks on Saudi oil facilities, according to SPA.

The Houthis said the coalition air strikes hit a power plant, a fuel supply station and the state-run social insurance office in the capital. 

The retaliation came after Friday's attack by the Houthis on oil giant Aramco's petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah, which is set to host the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Yemen’s brutal war erupted in 2014 after the Houthis seized Sanaa. Months later, Saudi Arabia and allies launched an air campaign to dislodge the Houthis and restore the internationally recognised government.

The conflict has in recent years become a regional proxy war that has killed more than 150,000 people, including over 14.500 civilians. It also created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

READ MORE: Houthi attacks target Saudi Arabia, causing damage - Coalition

Source: TRTWorld and agencies