SANAA (AFP) - The head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed support on Saturday for a five-point plan by the Yemeni government to end a protracted conflict with rebels. The OIC backs the unity and the security of Yemen, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the pan-Muslim organisation, told a news conference in Sanaa following talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He said the Yemen governments proposals could serve as basis for a settlement of the latest outbreak of fighting which began in August when the government began an offensive against Zaidi rebels in the mountainous north of the country. The plan calls for the disarming of the rebels but the Zaidi insurgents, also known as Huthis, have said they want time to study the proposals and have demanded an independently monitored ceasefire. The government launched Operation Scorched Earth on August 11 with the aim of crushing the rebels in their northern stronghold Saada region and surrounding areas. The authorities accuse the rebels of being supported by groups in Iran and of seeking to reinstate a form of clerical rule that ended in republican coup in 1962. The rebels deny both claims. No political or religious differences could justify the recourse to violence, Ihsanoglu said in reference to the rebels. Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded in the latest clashes, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee their homes, resulting in a humanitarian crisis complicated by a dire shortage of food and other basic necessities. The head of the worlds largest Muslim organisation also announced plans to send eleven lorry loads on aid in coming days to people displaced by the violence. According to the UN about 150,000 people are thought to have been displaced or affected by the conflict since it first broke out in 2004, including about 55,000 who have fled the latest bout of fighting.