Yemen rebels claim capture of Saudi troops in ‘major attack’

World

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen’s rebels Sunday claimed they launched a major attack on the border of Saudi Arabia, releasing video purporting to show captive Saudi soldiers and equipment.

The images of the attack released by the rebels, known as Houthis, show armored vehicles with stenciled Saudi markings, arms and ammunition the rebels claim they seized.

The video also shows fighting in a mountainous area, with Houthi fighters apparently attacking Saudi troops in armored vehicles.

It shows what appear to be corpses and wounded in Saudi military uniforms. Several troops identified themselves as Saudis.

The kingdom did not immediately acknowledge the attack. A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis on behalf of an internationally recognized Yemeni government since 2015.

In the past, the Houthis have claimed that they occupied Saudi villages after cross-border attacks, but often they enter a village, raise a banner, then pull out.

They have also held Saudi soldiers and officers captive in the past, using them as bargaining chips. Usually, they force the soldier to show his ID and speak on camera as proof. This time they did not show IDs.

Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for Houthi forces, claimed in a news conference Sunday the rebels took captive more than 2,000 troops, without offering evidence.

He also alleged that “three brigades have fallen,” and that the Houthis “liberated 350 kilometers square (135 square miles).”

Yemeni military officials said Sunday the soldiers the Houthis claimed they captured were fighters recruited informally by the Saudi-led coalition to fight inside Saudi Arabian borders. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media.

Yemen’s stalemated war has killed tens of thousands of people, badly damaged Yemen’s infrastructure and crippled its health system.

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