Dozens killed in Yemen-Saudi border clashes

Dozens of Houthi rebels die during clashes on Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Houthi rebels patrolling in a truck during a rally commemorating the anniversary of South Yemen's independence from British colonial rule, in Sanaa, Yemen on November 30, 2015

Some 180 Houthi rebels and fighters loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been killed in an assault on the border with Saudi Arabia, a spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition told Saudi state television on Tuesday.

"There was an attempt, as usual, to breach the border and sneak into Saudi territory but the ... armed forces as a whole, were watching them and this attempt was thwarted," Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri said on Saudi state television.

"Those who tried to infiltrate were killed and the situation is stable, thanks be to God," he added.

Local residents also said dozens of Houthi rebels had been killed, as they added Saudi forces had used rockets and helicopters to drive them back.

The Houthis have been trying to force their way into Saudi Arabia since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March, targeting the rebels to restore the exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia considers Houthi rebels as an Iranian proxy. The Kingdom accuses Iran of trying to spread its influence into Arab states including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry also said bombardment from Yemen has killed another border guard in Jazan district, raising the number of deaths caused by cross-border shelling to eight since Saturday, AFP reported.

Al Assiri believes that the border attacks could be in reprisal for a coalition air strike that had hit a meeting of Houthi leaders in their stronghold of Saada.

"I think yesterday it was related to what happened, in Yemen," Assiri told AFP. "We targeted a headquarters where they were meeting."

Meanwhile, a Tunisian woman working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, the ICRC and local officials said.

The woman, Nouran Hawas, was abducted along with a Yemeni man as their ICRC car was stopped by gunmen. The man was released after a few hours.

On Sept. 2, two ICRC workers were killed in the northern province of Amran by an unidentified attacker and in August, gunmen had raided the Swiss-based humanitarian agency's office in Aden, which had forced it to temporarily put off its activities there.

Sanaa is controlled by the Houthi militia and also controls much of the northern part of Yemen.

The United Nations says that at least 5,700 people, nearly half of them civilians, have been killed in Yemen’s civil war since March.

TRTWorld and agencies