Friday, November 6, 2009

Saudi air force jets resumed shelling positions of Shia rebels inYemen

SANA'A (Yemen):

Saudi air force jets resumed shelling positions of Shia rebels on the country's southwestern border with Yemen for the third day on Friday, the rebel group said in an e-mailed statement.

It said the jets hit areas in the al-Malahid district of the Saada province, as well as villages on the border.

The group said airstrikes began at 10.00 a.m. (0700 GMT) and are "still ongoing", without giving further details.

Saudi Arabia said Friday that its military operation against rebels who infiltrated into its territory will continue until the rebels are ejected from Saudi soil.

"The operations will continue until all locations within Saudi territories have been completely and fully cleared of any hostile element," an official said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

It said the move was taken after "infiltrators" killed a Saudi soldier and injured 11 others with sniper fire and burnt six Saudi border guard cars in cross-border attacks Tuesday.

The statement said Saudi air force carried out "concentrated airstrikes" on positions of the rebels at al-Dokhan mountain, as well as at other targets "within the perimeter of the operations inside the Saudi territories".

It said Saudi forces took "full control over the other locations in which the infiltrators tried to stay".

The oil-rich kingdom stressed that it "will carry out the necessary measures to maintain the security of the homeland, protect its borders and deter infiltrators from any side".

It said the Saudi army reinforced the border guards with military units.

On Thursday, the Shia rebels, who are battling government troops in northwestern Yemen, said Saudi warplanes shelled areas controlled by them on the Yemeni side of the border and that a number of civilians were killed.

They said the Saudi planes carried out "extensive raids" on al-Malahid district and villages in Marran area of Saada province.

Yemen's defence ministry rejected the rebel claims as "fabricated, false and unfounded". It said no Saudi jet entered Yemeni airspace.

The rebels said in a second statement that they captured Saudi soldiers during clashes in the Yemeni side of the borders Friday.

"With support from God, a group of Saudi soldiers were captured with their equipment and weapons," the statement said, without giving numbers.

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