Houthi fighters say they have repulsed Saudi forces trying to infiltrate the rugged Sa’ada province of northern Yemen, after killing a number of Saudi soldiers.
The Houthis said they pushed Saudi troops back from the village of Jaberi and killed an unspecified number of Saudi soldiers. They also reportedly destroyed one of their tanks.
The Yemen-based Houthi fighters said Saudi forces fired over 100 missiles and carried out air strikes against the northern Sa’ada region during the clashes.
The conflict in northern Yemen began in 2004 between Sana’a and Houthi fighters. The conflict intensified in August 2009 when the Yemeni army launched Operation Scorched Earth in an attempt to crush the fighters in the northern province of Sa’ada.
The Houthis accuse the Yemeni government of violation of their civil rights, political, economic and religious marginalization as well as large-scale corruption.
The Saudi air force has further complicated the conflict by launching its own operations against Shia resistance fighters.
Houthi fighters say that Riyadh pounds their positions, and that Saudi forces strike Yemeni villages and indiscriminately target civilians. According to the fighters, Saudis use toxic materials, including white phosphorous bombs, against civilians in northern Yemen.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that since 2004, up to 175,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in Sa’ada and take refuge at overcrowded camps set up by the United Nations.