Saleh said on Sunday that he supports the Houthis’ struggle against the Saudi aggression, while appreciating the sacrifices they are making for the defense of Yemen.
“You should raise your guns and be prepared to sacrifice your lives in defense against these aggressive attacks,” Saleh told the media while standing in front of the ruins of his home, which was flattened during an airstrike the night before.
The former president also slammed Riyadh, once his close ally, for continuing to pound Yemenis from air in a “cowardly” manner, saying the airstrikes would never end in a desired outcome for Saudi Arabia.
“If you are brave enough, come and face us on the battlefield, come and we will be at your reception. Shelling by rockets and jet fighters cannot enable you to achieve any of your goals,” Saleh said, adding “I can describe this aggression as an act of cowardice.”
The comments were Saleh’s toughest standpoint against six weeks of aggression on Yemen, which has inflicted heavy losses of life and properties on Yemeni people. Saudi warplanes attack on Saleh’s residence in Yemen could indicate the kingdom’s degree of grudge to the former president, who used to have a close relationship with Riyadh during his three decades of rule on Yemen.
Saleh survived the assault which was part of an escalated bombardment of Yemen’s northern territories over the past two days. The attacks on provinces of Sana’a, Sa’ada, and Hajjah came after Yemeni tribal forces shelled some military bases south of Saudi Arabia.
Earlier in the day, Yemeni army and the Houthis agreed to a five-day ceasefire proposed by Riyadh with the ostensible aim of facilitating humanitarian aid to civilians in the impoverished Arab state.
Saudi King Salman’s absence in [P]GCC summit
The Saudi foreign minister said on Sunday the country’s newly-appointed ruler, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, will not attend Camp David summit hosted by US President Barack Obama next week.
Adel al-Jubeir said King Salman would skip the summit of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) as the event coincides with a five-day ceasefire in the war against Yemen.
He further noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who is also the interior minister, would lead the Saudi delegation to the summit.
According to the latest UN figures, the Saudi military campaign has so far claimed the lives of over 1,400 people and injured close to 6,000 people, roughly half of whom have been civilians.
The Al Saud regime has imposed a blockade on the delivery of relief supplies to the war-stricken people of Yemen in defiance of calls by international aid groups.