Pakistani mercenaries among captured troops in Yemen: Claim Houthi rebels

Houthi Rebels/ Image for representation

Houthi rebels who are fighting with the Saudi-led forces in the Arabian peninsula on Sunday claimed to have captured hundreds of Saudis, including mercenaries from Pakistan, Iraq, and Sudan, during a clash between the Saudi and Houthi forces over the past three days in the southern Saudi region of Najran.

“The enemy has suffered heavy losses during the operation,” a statement released by Houthi group’s spokesperson Abdul Salam read, and noted that “among the captives are hundreds of Saudis, including officers and mercenaries from Pakistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, among others.”

The Nasr Min Allah (a victory from Allah) operation is one of the best and greatest fruits of the steadfastness of Yemini people in confronting the aggression led by the Yemeni government and Saudi-led forces,” the statement added.

The development comes hours after the rebel group broadcast video footage they said was of a deadly attack in the Saudi region of Najran that killed hundreds of soldiers, with thousands of others surrendering before the armed group, including three brigades of troops led by former-Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif.

A spokesman of the Houthi group, Yahya Saree, described the attacks as an ambush on the Saudi forces that then developed into an “all-out” cross-border offensive that trapped the troops inside Saudi Arabia, Al Jazeera reported.

“More than 200 were killed in dozens of [missile and drone] strikes while trying to escape or surrender,” Spokesperson Saree said.

Yahya Saree added that the offence committed 72 hours earlier had targeted three “enemy military brigades”, leading to the capture of “thousands” of troops, including Saudi army officers and soldiers, and hundreds of armoured vehicles.

Saudi Crown Prince MBS with Former Pakistan COAS Raheel Sharif/ Image: Al Jazeera

The army brigades were a part of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), commanded by the former Pakistan Army chief Raheel sharif. The IMCTC is an intergovernmental counter-terrorist alliance of the Middle Eastern countries, led by Saudi Arabia and united around military intervention against the Islamic State and other counter-terrorist activities.

Sharif was named the IMCTC’s first commander-in-chief in January 2017 after his retirement as the Pakistan Army general in 2016.

The released video showed armoured vehicles being hit by blasts and soldiers surrendering before the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels.

The video and images coming through are affirming the statement. It’s a pivotal point in this war that now Yemeni are moving on Saudi land. It’s quite interesting to see with all the talk of a grand Saudi coalition that Saudi is very much alone in this fight.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen on Monday warned of more attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, two days after drone strikes on Saudi oil heartland that interrupted much of the kingdom’s oil production that heightened tensions between Iran and the United States.

The rebel group has launched a missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale.

The attacks on the Kingdom’s oil giant Saudi Aramco forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which process most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia, which supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Akshat Verma

Akshat Verma is an Associate Editor at The Kootneeti. His area of interest includes India-Pakistan-China relations and Indian Foreign Policy. He can be reached at || Twitter: @akshat_ver

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