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Houthis claim Saudis held in major attack – Riyadh yet to confirm

FILE – In this Sept. 21, 2019 file photo, Shiite Houthi tribesmen hold their weapons as they chant slogans during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen. Yemen’s Houthi rebels said late Friday night that they were halting drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, one week after they claimed responsibility for a strike that crippled a key oil facility in the kingdom. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

DUBAI, Sept 29, (Agencies): Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group broadcast footage on Sunday that it said showed a major attack near the border with Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Najran, adding that its forces had captured troops and vehicles.

Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition that has been battling the Houthis, has not responded to Saturday’s Houthi announcement that they had carried out the attack. Reuters could not independently verify either claim. Houthi-run al-Masirah TV broadcast images of armoured vehicles hit by blasts and what the Houthis said were dozens of surrendering fighters.

Two of those men, speaking to the camera, said they were from Saudi Arabia. The Houthi military spokesman said the offensive 72 hours earlier had defeated three “enemy military brigades”, leading to the capture of “thousands” of enemy troops, including Saudi army officers and soldiers, and hundreds of armoured vehicles. The spokesman, Yahya Saria, did not give a day for when the footage was filme

Yemeni government troops, supported by air strikes of the Saudi-led coalition, have in recent months fought Houthi forces in the Kataf region of Yemen’s northern Saada province near the Saudi border. Local sources have said the Houthis have captured scores of Yemeni troops in the battles.

The Houthi militias launched a ballistic missile from Sanaa, but fell in Saada Governorate, the Saudi-led Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen said. The Iranian-backed Houthi militias continue to violate the international humanitarian law by launching missile attacks “from a populated area” that threaten the lives of hundreds of civilians, said Spokesman of the Coalition Colonel Turki Al-Maliki in a press statement on Sunday.

The coalition will continue to take extreme measures to protect civilians and prevent such attacks, he added. Yemeni Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Hadhrami reiterated his country’s support for the UN-led peace process and the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths. Al-Hadhrami made his remarks at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, pledging to engage positively and fl exibly in all peace measures, namely the GCC Initiative and its executive mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly 2216.

“We went to Sweden last year to give peace every opportunity. But because of the intransigence of the Houthi militias and their constant evasion of commitment to what has been agreed, it has not been in place for more than 10 months.” he said.

He stressed that the Security Council should assume its responsibility and force the Houthis to implement the Stockholm agreement to withdraw from the city and ports of Hodeidah, release all prisoners, and lift the unjust siege on the city of Taiz. Al-Hadhrami condemned the terrorist attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities, saying, “it is not only an attack on Saudi Arabia, but on the world economy and is a serious threat to international security and stability.” A fuel shortage is deepening Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, forcing drivers to wait for days in queues that stretch back from some petrol stations as far as the eye can see.

The new shortage is just one of many problems causing suffering in the civil war being fought by the Iran-aligned Houthi movement and a Saudi-led coalition backed by the West. But its consequences are far-reaching. Fuel is needed not just for cars but also for water pumps, hospital generators and to transport goods around a country where millions are on the brink of famine. “It’s affecting us and all the Yemeni people,” said Nashwan Khaled, who had already been waiting for two days in a queue for petrol in Sanaa, the Houthi-controlled capital where many petrol stations have been forced to close. “I put my job and my life on hold,” he said. Petrol on the black market is selling for almost three times the official price. Drivers can queue for two or three days.

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