March 28, 2016 / 2:53 AM / 3 years ago

Houthis swap prisoners with Saudi Arabia - spokesman

A Houthi follower rises a weapon as he attends a rally marking one year of Saudi-led air strikes, in Yemen's capital Sanaa, March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

DOHA (Reuters) - Yemen’s Houthi movement said on Sunday it had exchanged prisoners with its foe Saudi Arabia as a first step towards ending a humanitarian crisis prompted by a year-long conflict that has killed at least 6,000 people.

“A first step of understanding and respect for the humanitarian aspect [of the conflict] was the exchange of prisoners today,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement.

The Houthis had handed over nine Saudi prisoners in exchange for 100 of their own fighters, he said.

Riyadh and a coalition of Arab states entered Yemen’s civil war a year ago in an attempt to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted him from power.

Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari, Writing by Tom Finn, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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