Egypt deploys 800 soldiers to Yemen

Egypt deploys first ground troops to Yemen to fight Houthi rebels

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Military vehicles carrying Gulf Arab soldiers arrive at Yemen's northern province of Marib on September 8, 2015.

Egyptian security sources, announced the arrival of 800 Egyptian troops alongside tanks and transport logistics to Yemen, late Tuesday.

Egypt has one of the Arab world’s strongest armies, and it was the first reported deployment made by Egyptian authorities to Yemen.  

The troops were deployed to strengthen the ranks of the Gulf Arab military force, that aims to defeat the Iran-allied Houthi rebels, after a five-month long brutal civil war in Yemen, Egyptian security sources reported.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has gained great momentum to tackle the crises, also an effort is being made to take back much of the country’s south, mainly focusing on the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa.

"We have sent these forces as part of Egypt's prominent role in this alliance... the alliance fights for the sake of our brotherly Arab states, and the death of any Egyptian soldier would be an honour and considered martyrdom for the sake of innocent people," a senior Egyptian military source said. 

Arab states coalition 

A coalition of Arab states, allied with the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, have been bombing Houthi insurgency since late March, in addition to running training programmes and dropping weapons for Yemeni fighters loyal to Hadi. 

Yemeni authorities disclosed the number of foreign forces coming from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to about 2,000, but Al Jazeera TV reported the arrival of at least 10,000 foreign soldiers, including 1,000 from the United Arab Emirates.

The coalition forces regard the campaign as a battle against the influence of arch-rival Iran within the region, but the Houthis claimed the fight as a revolution against a corrupt government, which they have forced into exile to Saudi Arabia in late March.

Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 4,500 people have been killed, conflict has also caused disease and hunger outbreaks in underdeveloped Yemen.

The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

A spokesman for the coalition, Brigadier General Ahmed al-Asseri told Reuters that, its forces were struggling to overcome Houthi uprising in Yemen's central and southern provinces, striking their locations with air strikes across the country before starting any push towards Sanaa.

"Before you start the ground operation, you have to have the prerequisite of the air campaign," al-Asseri said.

"I don't want to talk about Sanaa because the military issue is in phases ... Now we are talking of Marib and Taiz."

Local residents reported heavy air strikes on military positions throughout Sanaa on Wednesday,

Also on Tuesday, fishermen said an air strike killed 20 Indian nationals off a Red Sea port, which is the latest in a series of daily attacks. Thirteen of the Indian nationals were later accounted for, while seven are still missing.

Medics also said, at least 15 other civilians were killed across the country.  

TRTWorld and agencies