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Saudis Offer Cease-Fire, Vow Retribution Against Yemeni Rebels

Saudi Arabia said May 7 it is prepared to begin a five-day, renewable cease-fire in Yemen so that humanitarian aid can reach millions of civilians threatened by the conflict.

The cease-fire offer in a joint announcement by the Saudi foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came even as a Saudi-led coalition that has waged an air war against Yemen's Huthi rebels vowed to exact "a harsh and expensive price" because the rebels killed at least five people in Saudi Arabia's border region.

"The safety of Saudi Arabia is a top priority for the coalition and the Saudi armed forces. It is a red line they crossed," said coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri.

Assiri said an operation to respond "starts now" and will target "all the leaders of the organisation, the areas they gather, their leadership locations, and the planners. And it will not be a limited operation."

His vow came as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Kerry in Riyadh hailed the cease-fire offer as a "major opportunity" to ease the crisis. Yemeni rebels, which are backed by Iran, have not responded to the offer.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP