Yemen, Shiite rebels agree on a cease-fire

A Yemeni government official and a Shi'ite rebels leader said Saturday that the two sides have agreed on a cease-fire that would pave the way to end a three year rebellion in the country's north, believed to have claimed thousands of lives. The deal was agreed to under Qatar's mediation, a Yemeni security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to give statements to media. Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, a prominent Shiite rebel leader based in the Saada province, 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of the Yemeni capital, confirmed that the agreement was reached. "We announce the halting of the fight and commitment to the articles of the agreement," al-Hawithi said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press. The rebel leader said the Shiite group had agreed to lay down their arms in a "response" to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's call for them to end the fighting.