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Middle East
Saudi 'seizes key rebel area'
Riyadh claims control of 'strategic' mountain in fight against Houthis.
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2009 09:16 GMT
Saudi forces began bombarding suspected Houthi positions along the border earlier this month [AFP]

Saudi Arabia says its forces have seized control of a strategic mountain along the border with Yemen in the kingdom's ongoing fight against Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's defence and aviation assistant minister, told a local television station that Saudi forces cleared the peak, known as Jabal al-Dood, on Saturday.

Sultan was shown speaking at what appeared to be an area near the frontline, as the sound of artillery fire was heard in the background, the Reuters news agency reported.

"Where we are now is less than 3km away from the border ... We are within our borders ... The [Saudi] forces are destroying all infiltrators," he said.

"We try to keep losses at a minimum ... and not be drawn into a war in the mountains."

Heavy clashes

Meanwhile, Yemeni military officials said they had also engaged in heavy clashes with the Houthi rebels on the outskirts of the northern city of Saada.

In depth

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A military official told Reuters that Yemeni officials had prevented a rebel attempt to enter the city on Saturday.

The Shia Muslim Houthi fighters, citing political, economic and religious marginalisation, have been battling the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Yemeni president, since 2004.

Saudi Arabia began bombarding suspected Houthi positions earlier this month after they apparently crossed the border and seized control of a small area.

The Houthis say that the Saudis have been allowing Yemeni troops to use the area to attack their positions.

Saudi officials claim that the fighting in northern Yemen is being supported by Iran and could be helping al-Qaeda to cross to their side of the border.

Source:
Agencies
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