Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saudi Arabian military forces have continued their five-day attack against Yemeni rebels, leaving seven Saudis and an unknown number of Yemeni dead, according to the state news agency. The military has stated that only rebel forces on Saudi soil have been attacked, in contradiction with previous reports. Rebels have claimed that the military have targeted Yemeni villages.

An official at Samtah’s district hospital listed seven Saudis, of which four women civilians, as dead and 126 wounded since fighting began. He said Friday had been the “heaviest day” for casualties since Tuesday, leaving two soldiers dead and many wounded. According to Saudi media, rebel shelling killed the women, who were all from the same family.

According to the Saudi government the fighting began when rebels killed a Saudi border official and wounded eleven, going on to capture an area in the province of Jizan, though rebels say that border clashes had started earlier. The latest attacks took place after rebels disguised as women entered Saudi border villages on Friday night.

Rebels claim that Saudi ground troops have entered Yemeni territory, and that they have captured soldiers. They stated on their website that “[w]ith Allah’s help, the Saudi tyrannical advance into Yemen’s territory has been defeated […] A number of its troops have been captured and several military vehicles and supplies been seized.”

The Saudi government responded that the airstrikes were on Saudi border territory to repel the rebels, although on Thursday a Saudi government adviser informed reporters that jets had bombed rebel camps within Yemen with the Yemeni government’s blessing.

Relief agencies are concerned about providing aid to the tens of thousands displaced since the latest offensive started on August 11.

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