Yemen's Houthis Say Attacked Saudi Border Frontline; No Confirmation From Riyadh

Iran-aligned movement claims to have killed three brigades of Saudi troops and to have detained thousands in an attack launched 72 hours ago

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Houthi rebels fighters chant slogans as they take off to a battlefront, Sanaa, Yemen, August 1, 2019
Houthi rebels fighters chant slogans as they take off to a battlefront, Sanaa, Yemen, August 1, 2019 Credit: Hani Mohammed,AP

Yemen's Houthi movement said on Saturday it had carried out an attack near the border with the southern Saudi region of Najran and captured several army officers, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi Arabian authorities.

The Houthis' military spokesman said in a statement that three "enemy military brigades had fallen" in the attack, which he said was launched 72 hours ago in the vicinity of Najran and was supported by the group's drone, missile and air defence units.

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Houthi-run Al Masirah TV quoted the spokesman as saying the Iran-aligned movement had captured "thousands" of enemy troops, including many officers and soldiers of the Saudi army, as well as hundreds of armoured vehicles.

The spokesman for a Saudi-led military coalition that has been battling the Houthi group for over four years in Yemen did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

The Houthis, who have recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, have claimed responsibility for an attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14, but Riyadh has dismissed the claim, saying the assault did not come from Yemen.

The Houthis, who control Sanaa and most big urban centres in Yemen, said on Sept. 20 they would halt missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the alliance stopped its operations. The coalition has yet to respond to the proposal.