He told a news conference that the Saudi-led coalition thwarted a Houthi attack late in August in the Kitaf district of Saada province along with the border with Saudi Arabia. The release of the prisoners came after the Houthis announced at the end of the week that they had captured some 2,000 members of the internationally recognized pro-government forces, including hundreds of Saudi officers and soldiers.
Franz Rauchenstein, the ICRC's chief in Yemen, said the Red Cross facilitated the release following a request from the Houthis.
"Our initiative proves our credibility in implementing the Sweden agreement and we call on the other party to take a comparable step", said the head of the Houthis' prisoner affairs committee, Abdul Qader al-Murtada, in statements carried by Houthi-run al-Masirah TV.
In the past, the Houthis have claimed that they occupied Saudi villages after cross-border attacks, but often they enter a village, raise a banner, then pull out.
Saudi Arabia has sent messages to Iran's president through the leaders of other countries, an Iranian government spokesman said on Monday, at a time of heightened tensions between the regional rivals.
The United Nations' special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the initiative to "unilaterally release detainees". At least 130 people, mostly prisoners, were killed in that attack, according to Yemeni medics. Each side was meant to release around 7,000 prisoners. This is a still image taken from video on Sunday.
At a press conference yesterday, Saudi coalition spokesperson, Colonel Turki Al-Mali denounced the claims were "theatrical" and part of "attempts to mislead" the global and regional media, describing it as a "disinformation campaign".
However, he described Monday's release of prisoners as created to "break the deadlock that has prevailed for several months".
The U.N. helped broker that peace deal between the warring sides late a year ago.
Moreover, he refuted Houthi claims that they had defeated three brigades and captured thousands of prisons.
The battle has deepened a humanitarian disaster that has left greater than 80 p.c of Yemen's inhabitants of practically 30 million in want of help, together with tens of millions getting ready to starvation.
When asked about the prisoner release, al-Malki said he did not have any more information on it.
The rebels said last month they were halting their missile and drone attacks against Saudi Arabia.