Yemen army captures Houthi leader, 8 Hezbollah members in Saada

A Yemeni fighter from the Amalqa Brigades stands pointing a Kalashnikov assault rifle towards a crossed-out plastered poster of the Houthi leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 25 June 2018
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Yemen army captures Houthi leader, 8 Hezbollah members in Saada

  • Forces carried out an operation that captured the leader of the militia along with eight military experts from Hezbollah
  • The commander of the third brigade said the battles lasted a week in Mount al-Ruqi and surrounding areas

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen on Monday said its forces killed eight members of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah in an air strike in northern Yemen, near the Saudi border.
“The coalition killed 41 terrorist elements in Maran and destroyed their vehicles and equipment. Among the dead were eight members of Lebanese Hezbollah, including a commander,” coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said in a statement, without offering details on how the fighters were killed.
Maran is in Saada province, a stronghold of Yemen’s Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran.
It was the first official announcement by the coalition of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters being killed in Yemen although Al-Maliki told AFP it was “not the first time.”
Hezbollah did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment on the claim.
The coalition has frequently accused Iran of providing weapons to the Houthis, namely ballistic missiles that have targeted the kingdom with increasing frequency.
Iran, also a backer of Hezbollah, has repeatedly denied arming the Houthis.
At press conference in Riyadh, Al-Maliki said the Hezbollah fighters were part of a group heading to the Saudi border when they were spotted by their surveillance network.
“Terrorist members... from Hezbollah and from the Iranian regime are coming to help the rebels launch ballistic missiles and train them in combat,” he said.
“Both Iran and... Hezbollah must stop sending military experts to Yemen.”
In a November interview with CNN, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir accused Hezbollah of firing a missile provided by Iran at the kingdom from Yemeni territory. Hezbollah denied that claim.
Monday’s announcement comes as Yemeni pro-government forces are locked in heavy battles with Houthi rebels as they press an offensive backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to retake the key aid hub of Hodeida.
UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who held talks in the rebel-held capital Sanaa last week to avoid military confrontation in Hodeida, is set to visit the southern port city of Aden on Wednesday for talks with Yemen’s Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Meanwhile the commander of the third brigade, Major General Abdul Karim Al-Sudai said the battles lasted a week in Mount al-Ruqi and surrounding areas.

He pointed out that the Arab coalition fighters supported the army during the operations and bombed militia positions.

 


Yemeni FM: Hezbollah’s interference in conflict will not be tolerated

Updated 31 min 44 sec ago
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Yemeni FM: Hezbollah’s interference in conflict will not be tolerated

LONDON: Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Yamani revealed that his government was still waiting for Lebanon’s response to its complaint about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Yemeni conflict.
Al-Yamani told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Yemen will talk to any country whose nationals are involved in the conflict.”
The Yemeni foreign minister had previously sent a complaint to his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil over Hezbollah’s interference in Yemen and described the Iran-backed party’s actions as a violation of joint Arab treaties.
“Lebanon will not allow itself to be hijacked by militias that claim to be part of the Lebanese system whilst they are commanded by the Wilayet Al-Faqih,” stated the minister.
“The secretary general of Hezbollah openly declared that he is a Khamenei soldier and that he is ready if confronted by war,” he continued. “Such statements do not make him part of the Lebanese national defense concept, but Iran’s idea of defense.”
Al-Yamani also revealed that his government is preparing to send a similar complaint to Iraq about intervention and recent statements made by extremist Shiite militias.
The Iran-backed Houthi militias are seeking to preserve their presence in Yemen and follow the example of Hezbollah, which is present alongside the political system in Lebanon, Al-Yamani noted.
Al-Yamani continued by saying that the Hezbollah has been obstructing political and social life in Lebanon, and that “the Yemeni government will not accept this. Any sovereign country that respects the rule of law will not accept the existence of militias like Hezbollah, which manages political life and imposes vetoes by force of its arms.”
When asked about the presence of Iranian experts in Yemen, Al-Yamani said that claims are difficult to verify, but that several Hezbollah members are part of the Houthi hierarchy.
“The militias would definitely not have had the ability to wage battles had they not received sufficient training by Hezbollah,” he added, revealing that the first thing that the militias did when they seized Sanaa was to release six Iranians from state prison.