(AFP) – Nov 19, 2009
RIYADH — A Saudi soldier has been killed in clashes with Yemeni Shiite rebels at the border between the two countries, Saudi media reported on Thursday.
Issa Madkhali, a member of the naval forces, died on Tuesday in a gunfight with the Zaidi rebels, also known as Huthis, in Jebal al-Dukhan, a mountainous area straddling Saudi Arabi and Yemen, the daily Al-Hayat reported.
The death brings to six the number of Saudi soldiers killed in military operations against the rebels, in addition to four civilians who died, according to an AFP tally based on official statements and media reports.
Madkhali was buried in the border Jizan region, where he is from, according to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
Meanwhile in Yemen, Abbass Aid, head of a rebel combat unit, was killed and another was wounded in Saada province, stronghold of the insurgency, a Yemeni military official told AFP.
Youssef Madani, son-in-law of Hussein al-Huthi, founder of the Zaidi rebels' movement, was wounded in the assault, the same official said.
The Yemen defence ministry website reported that another rebel leader, Ali al-Qatwani was killed in Jebel al-Dukhan and another leader, Abdallah al-Khiami was arrested for several acts of "terrorism and sabotage".
The authorities called on rebel members to hand themselves in.
"Give yourself up ... and we will not do you harm," the armed forces and local authorities said in a joint statement in Saada on Thursday.
Saudi naval forces, which have been carrying out operations in the Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden to prevent the rebels from receiving arms and ammunition, have attacked two suspected boats, Asharq Al-Awsat said.
The Saudi navy used Super Cobra helicopters for its strike on the two craft approaching from Somalia on the other side of the Red Sea, the newspaper reported.
The Zaidi rebels and Yemeni government forces have been at war since August, renewing a confrontation that first erupted in 2004.
Saudi forces have been shelling and bombing rebel positions in the 2,000-metre (6,600-foot) Jebel al-Dukhan mountain area since November 4, after rebels killed a border guard and occupied two small villages inside Saudi territory the previous day.
Riyadh has said the air strikes and shelling will continue until the rebels withdraw tens of kilometres from the Saudi-Yemeni border.
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