SANA'A-- Abdulmalik al-Houthi, leader of Houthi rebels in Yemen, on Saturday called for a public mobilisation to reinforce his fighters in the war against a Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in the Yemeni Red Sea coast.

In a statement carried by Houthi-controlled Saba news agency late on Saturday, al-Houthi accused the U.S.-backed Arab military coalition of "backing away from deals that mediated by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths to avoid Hodeidah port city from an imminent major offensive planned by the coalition."

Al-Houthi did not provide any details on what he called "deals."

"Saudi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are using the United Nations as an umbrella to seize control of Hodeidah through baseless justifications," al-Houthi said.

Al-Houthi's reaction came two days after the coalition resumed its military action south of Hodeidah, in which the coalition forces launched a major attack to recapture Tuhyata district.

Local media reported over 100 fighters have been killed from both warring sides over the past two days.

The coalition military attack on Tuhyata came after a four-day pause declared by the coalition leadership to support the UN envoy's efforts.

On Wednesday, Griffiths left the rebel-held capital Sanaa after meeting with the Houthi leader. Griffiths said the discussion with Abdulmalik al-Houthi was "fruitful."

Last week, the Houthi chief proposed Griffiths to place Hodeidah port under the UN supervision to prevent the coalition from attacking the city.

On June 13, the coalition, backing internationally-recognised government of exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, declared a major assault to recapture Hodeidah and the Yemeni western Red Sea coast from the Houthis.

Saudi has accused the Houthis of using the port to smuggle Iranian weapons. Both Houthis and Iran denied the accusation.

Humanitarian agencies have warned of any attack on the port, saying it would lead to the world's biggest humanitarian catastrophe in modern history.

Hodeidah is the single most important point of entry for food and basic supplies to Yemen's northern provinces controlled by Houthis, including the capital Sanaa.

Over 45,000 Yemenis fled from war-torn areas in Hodeidah since the UAE-led offensive against Houthis began on June 13, according to humanitarian organisations.

The coalition intervened in Yemen's conflict in March 2015 to roll back Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels and reinstate Hadi.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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