Saudis claim key win over Yemeni rebels
Makkah, November 29, 2009
Saudi Arabia has said it had taken control of a strategic mountain on the Saudi side of the border with Yemen, clearing the area of Yemeni Shi'ite rebels.
"The (Saudi) forces have taken control of Jabal (Mount) al-Dood ... These men have cleared this area," Defense and Aviation Assistant Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan told al-Ekhbariya Television, describing the peak as strategically important.
He was shown speaking at what appeared to be an area near the frontline, and sounds of artillery fire could be heard.
"Where we are now is less than 3 km (2 miles) away from the border (with Yemen) ... We are within our borders .. The (Saudi) forces are destroying all infiltrators," Prince Khaled said. "We try to keep losses at a minimum ... and not be drawn into a war in the mountains."
Saudi Arabia started fighting Yemeni Shi'ite rebels -- known as Houthis -- earlier this month after it announced that they had killed two border guards in a cross-border incursion.
A Yemeni military official told Reuters that Yemeni forces and Houthi rebels waged pitched battles on the outskirts of the northern city of Saada on Saturday after regular troops thwarted an attempt by the insurgents to enter the city.
The Houthis belong to the Zaidi sect of minority Shi'ite Islam, and complain of social, economic and religious marginalisation by the government. Both sides deny their aims are sectarian. – Reuters