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As Yemen War Turns Four, Houthi Forces Take the Battle To Saudi Arabia’s Doorstep

As Yemen War Turns Four, Houthi Forces Take the Battle To Saudi Arabia’s Doorstep

As Yemen War Turns Four, Houthi Forces Take the Battle To Saudi Arabia’s Doorstep
March 25
19:51 2019

JIZAN, SAUDI ARABIA — Yemen’s army, loyal to the Houthis, launched a large-scale military operation on Sunday against the Saudi military bases in the Kingdom’s southwestern region of Jizan, some 900 kilometers (560 miles) south of the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The operation comes as the deadly Saudi war against Yemen enters its fourth year.

At least 20 Saudi troops, including high-ranking officers, have been killed so far. Footage of attacks released on Monday by Yemen’s Ansar Allah Media Center shows the bodies of deceased Saudi soldiers still unable to be retrieved by Saudi forces, despite Saudi air superiority. Yemeni forces also took control of U.S.-manufactured weapons caches left behind in the Saudi bases.

Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman of the Houthi-allied Yemeni Armed Forces, announced late Sunday that the attack, which was carried out after extensive intelligence gathering, targeted 15 Saudi military sites, including al- Sefah, al Qeimah and Seyabeh. The attack reportedly injured a large number of Saudi soldiers and destroyed at least five armored vehicles.

A source inside of Yemen’s Houthi-allied military confirmed to MintPress that more military operations against Saudi Arabia would be launched in the coming days if Saudi Arabia does not stop its war on Yemen. The source added that countries supporting the Saudi Coalition would also be targeted, but did not specify the countries or how they would be targeted.

According to leaders of Yemen’s Houthi-allied armed forces, which have been defending Yemen against the Saudi Coalition’s incursion into their country since it began in 2015, offensive attacks against Coalition targets inside of Saudi Arabia and the UAE will increase in 2019, until the Coalition withdraws from Yemen.

Elsewhere in the country, Yemen’s Houthi-allied armed forces army shot down an MQ-1 Predator drone in the Hamdan district north of the capital Sana’a. The MQ-1 is an American-made remotely-piloted aircraft built by General Atomics and used primarily by the U.S. Air Force and Central Intelligence Agency. The drone was reportedly on a reconnaissance mission when it was shot down.

Mahdi Mashat — president of the Supreme Political Council, the highest political authority in Sana’a — said that if the Coalition is determined to “close all the windows of peace,” difficult and painful choices will have to be made. Mashat went on to warn the Saudis that continuing the war would not be in their interest.

Mashat’s warning comes as the Coalition war against Yemen enters its fourth year. It was in March 2015 that Saudi Arabia shocked the world by building a coalition of Arab states backed by the U.S. and Britain and began launching a seemingly endless barrage of airstrikes throughout Yemen, leaving thousands dead and triggering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, more than 60,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015, not including deaths caused by disease, epidemics, and malnutrition.

 

To the streets to mark a grim anniversary

Meanwhile, mass demonstrations are expected to take place on Tuesday to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis are expected to take to the streets in a show of steadfastness, a challenge to the Saudi-led Coalition, and pledge of resistance to foreign forces in Yemen.

The anniversary of the war comes as a new wave of cholera is sweeping the country. According to the UN, nearly 110,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported in Yemen since the beginning of January, including 190 deaths related to the largely preventable disease. But the exact numbers are not known and aid groups warn the toll is likely to be at least three times higher.

The UN recently said that children under the age of five make up nearly a third of the 108,889 cholera cases reported between January 1 and March 17, and the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, “The spike is concentrated in six governorates including in the Red Sea port of Hodeida and Sana’a.”

In 2019, Yemen’s people are more vulnerable than ever, as their country undergoes the largest food-security crisis in the world, with over 20 million people at risk, more than two-thirds of the country’s total population. That is an increase of 13 percent from 2018.

Moreover, nearly 10 million people suffer from extreme hunger, while approximately 240,000 face catastrophic food consumption gaps. Additionally, an estimated 7.4 million people need treatment to prevent malnutrition and 3.2 million people need treatment for acute malnutrition, including 2 million children under the age of five and over 1 million pregnant and lactating women.

Top photo | This image released by the Ansarallah Media Center shows a fighter from Yemen’s armed forces outside of a Saudi military site in the Southwest Saudi province of Jizan. Photo | AMC

Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.

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Alexander Ionov

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