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Saudi Arabia swaps prisoners with Yemeni rebels

Saudi Arabia has exchanged prisoners with Yemen’s Houthi rebels, a rebel leader said on Saturday.

Thirteen Houthis were released by Riyadh in exchange for a previously freed Saudi prisoner, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, head of the rebel prisoner affairs committee, said in a statement.

“We hope that this step will be a prelude to the implementation of the deal agreed upon earlier,” he said, without providing any further details.

There was no confirmation of the prisoner swap by Saudi authorities.

On Saturday, the Yemeni government said a prisoner swap with Houthi rebels under which 887 prisoners were scheduled to be released has been postponed until April 14.

Last year, the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels signed a UN-brokered deal to free 2,000 prisoners, but their release was disrupted amid mutual accusations of violations of the agreement.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

*Ikram Kouachi contributed to this report

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