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Saudi Arabia, Houthi Rebels Swap Prisoners Ahead Of Peace Talks

A Saudi-led military coalition that is fighting a war with Yemen's Shi'ite rebels said on March 28 that it has exchanged nine Saudi prisoners for 109 Yemeni nationals ahead of planned peace talks next month.

The coalition said in a statement that the prisoner swap took place on March 27.

The statement said the Yemeni prisoners had been detained in "areas of operations near the border of Saudi Arabia."

Yemeni media said the nine Saudi men were soldiers.

It was one of several prisoner swaps between the two sides since late last year in a conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people and triggered a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world.

The conflict pits the Yemeni government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against the Shi'ite rebels, known as the Houthis, allied with a former president.

The Iran-backed rebels overran the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in September 2014 and the coalition began air strikes against them in March 2015.

The two sides have recently agreed to a cease-fire at midnight on April 10 ahead of peace talks scheduled to start on April 18 in Kuwait.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters