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3 Saudi soldiers killed in action against Yemen rebels

The Levant News — Three Saudi soldiers were killed and three others wounded along the Yemeni border in the past 24 hours of fighting and by rocket fire and artillery shelling from Yemen’s Shiite rebels, the Saudi military said.

A statement, carried out by the official Saudi Press Agency said two soldiers were killed in action on Tuesday against the rebels along the border with Yemen while one soldier was killed Monday by the rebels targeting a Saudi border post in the Jizan region with rockets and artillery shelling. The statement said Saudi troops fired back, but did not say whether any rebels were killed or wounded.

Saudi Maj. Gen. Abdulrahman al-Shahrani, commander of the 18th brigade, died of hostile fire Sunday in the same region. He is the highest ranking Saudi officer to die since March when Saudi Arabia, leading a U.S.-backed coalition of mainly Arab countries, started air strikes against the Iran-supported rebels, known as Houthis.

Several dozen Saudi soldiers have been killed in border attacks since the airstrikes began, mostly by missiles launched by the rebels and their allies. Two Saudi pilots were killed Friday when their helicopter was shot down in Jizan.

Yemen’s conflict pits the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh against an array of forces including southern separatists, local and tribal militias, Sunni Islamic militants as well as troops loyal to President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, currently in Saudi Arabia. Pro-government forces recently pushed the Houthis out of several key southern areas.

Later Tuesday, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia’s continuation of the war could increase terrorism risks in the region, adding however that Iran was ready to cooperate with Riyadh on the matter, the official IRNA news agency reported.

“The continuation of resorting to force against Yemen will not end the country’s crisis, rather it risks spreading the crisis, and especially increasing the growth of terrorism,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying.

“We welcome dialogue and collaboration with Saudi Arabia in order to restore peace, security and welfare in the region,” he said, adding that a political solution and broad-based agreement was the only way to end the crisis in Yemen.

Source: The Daily Star

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