Saudi claim gains from Yemeni rebels


Saudi Arabia launched air strikes on rebels in northern Yemen last week after Shia insurgents crossed the border and said they had seized an area called Jabal Dukhan.

The rebels yesterday denied they had lost control of Jabal Dukhan and said the kingdom’s offensive was continuing, with Yemeni villages the target of heavy bombing.

The world’s top oil exporter has become increasingly anxious about instability in Yemen, which is facing a Shia insurgency in the north, separatist sentiment in the south and a growing threat from resurgent Al Qaeda fighters.

“The situation is calm … especially in Jabal Dukhan, of which full control has been regained,” Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, assistant minister for defence and aviation, said on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Prince Khaled said three members of the Saudi security forces were killed and 15 wounded in fighting on the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Four Saudi soldiers were missing, Prince Khaled said, but he denied they had been taken prisoner. He said Saudi security forces had arrested several rebels.

Instructions from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia specified that any rebel caught on the Saudi side of the border would be arrested, Prince Khaled said, and the kingdom “has not, and will not interfere inside Yemeni borders”.

The rebels, referred to as Houthis after the clan of their leader Abdel-Malik Al Houthi, said on Friday they had captured some Saudi soldiers.


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