UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi group said on Saturday it had launched a “major operation” near the border with Saudi Arabia’s Najran region, capturing many military personnel and vehicles, but there was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities.
“Three military brigades and a faction of Saudi forces and thousands of prisoners and hundreds of vehicles were seized during the attack, which it said began 72 hours ago in Najran axis with the support of the movement’s drones, missiles and air defense units,” the military spokesman said in a statement.
Al-Masirah channel, which is run by the Houthis, quoted the spokesman as saying that the prisoners included “a large number of leaders, officers and soldiers of the Saudi army.”
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting the Houthis in Yemen for four years, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the announcement.
That process would hamper UN efforts to reduce tensions and pave the way for talks aimed at ending the war that has killed tens of thousands of people and left millions in the impoverished country on the brink of starvation.
Saudi Arabia is leading an alliance that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which the Houthis overthrew from Sanaa in late 2014.
“Operation Nasrallah is the largest military operation since the start of the brutal aggression, in which the enemy suffered a heavy loss … and the liberation of a vast geographical area within a short period of time not exceeding a few days,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam said on Twitter.
The Houthis have recently stepped up attacks using drones and cross-border missiles targeting Saudi cities and have claimed responsibility for an attack on two Saudi oil facilities on September 14.
But Riyadh denied this, saying the attack did not come from Yemen and accused Iran instead of responsibility for the attack, a charge Tehran denies.
The Houthis said on September 20 they could stop rocket and droning attacks on Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led coalition halted operations. The coalition has yet to respond.
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