Houthis claim capture of ‘thousands of Saudi troops’ in attack

Yemen’s rebels claim to carry out attack in the Saudi region of Najran, no confirmation from Riyadh.

Yemen’s Houthi movement has said it carried out an attack near the border with the southwestern Saudi region of Najran and captured several army officers, but there was no immediate confirmation from the authorities in Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for the Yemen-based rebels said in a statement that three “enemy military brigades had fallen” in the attack, Reuters news agency reported on Saturday.

The spokesman said the attack was launched 72 hours earlier in the vicinity of Najran and was supported by the group’s drone, missile and air defense units.

Houthi-run Al Masirah TV quoted the spokesman as saying they captured “thousands” of enemy troops, including many officers and soldiers of the Saudi army, as well as “hundreds of armored vehicles”.

The Houthis, who control the northern part of Yemen, have recently stepped up their drone and missile attacks across the southern border of Saudi Arabia. 

The rebels claimed responsibility for a September 14 drone and missile attack on two facilities run by Saudi’s state oil company, Aramco.

The attack slashed Saudi Arabia’s crude oil output by half, diminishing about five percent of the world supply. 

However, the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, and the UK said Iran was behind the attacks, ratcheting up already heightened tensions in the region. 

Five years of fighting

The war in Yemen broke out in 2014 with an offensive by the Houthis against the Yemeni government.

September 21 marked the five year anniversary of the Houthi’s capture of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

The Saudi-led coalition, backed by the Western powers, intervened in the civil war in March 2015. 

The conflict in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and left millions on the brink of famine, in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The UN said both the Houthis and the opposing coalition may be guilty of war crimes. 

On September 20, Houthi officials that 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.