Iran-Backed Houthis Claim Footage Shows Attack on Saudi Border

September 29, 2019 Updated: September 29, 2019

DUBAI—Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group broadcast footage on Sunday claiming 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 the Houthi’s claim.

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV broadcast images of armored 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.

Houthi forces attack
Alleged Saudi military vehicles burn after an attack by Houthi forces near the border with Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Najran in Yemen, in this still image taken from video on Sept. 29, 2019. (Al Masirah/Houthi Military Media Center/Reuters TV via REUTERS)

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 armored vehicles.

The spokesman, Yahya Saria, did not give a day for when the footage was filmed.

Photos from Houthis military media center
Alleged members of coalition forces walk after being captured by Houthi forces during an attack near the border with Saudi Arabia’s southern region of Najran in Yemen, in this still image taken from video on Sept. 29, 2019. Houthi military officials claim that offensive defeated “enemy forces” leading to capture of Saudi soldiers, officers and vehicles. (Al Masirah/Houthi Military Media Center/Reuters TV via REUTERS)

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 Houthis ousted the internationally recognized Yemeni government of Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014, after which the Saudi-led coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from international allies, intervened in March 2015.

The country has since been caught in a civil war that has seen extensive interference from foreign powers.

A U.N.-brokered prisoner swap deal agreed between the Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government last December involving some 7,000 detainees on each side has yet to happen.

Coalition forces have consistently bombed rebel-held areas in Yemen.

The Houthis, who had recently stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities, recently claimed responsibility for the largest-ever attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.

Iranian cruise missile
The Saudi military displays what they say are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in recent attack on its oil industry at Saudi Aramco’s facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 18, 2019. (Amr Nabil/AP Photo)

Riyadh dismissed the claim, saying the assault did not come from Yemen and have Shi’ite Muslim Iran. Tehran denies this.

The Houthis said on Sept. 20 they would halt missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the alliance stopped its operations. The coalition has not responded to the proposal.

By Tuqa Khalid, Lisa Barrington, and Maher Chmaytelli

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