Yemeni Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdul Khaleq al-Ajri said in a press release on Saturday that the first spy cell was run by the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) – the primary intelligence agency of Saudi Arabia, and worked under the supervision of a group of Saudi officers, including Major General Fahd bin Zaid al-Mutairi and Brigadier Falah bin Muhammad al-Shahrani, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.
Ajri added that the cell was led by former Yemeni interior minister Mohamed Abdullah al-Kawsi, who is loyal to former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. He had been tasked with training the recruits.
The Yemeni Interior Ministry spokesman further noted that two Saudi military helicopters transported the members of the spy cell from Sharurah town in Saudi Arabia’s southern border region of Najran into Yemen.
Ajri added that Kawsi was leading an operation aimed at collecting critical information to target Yemeni air defense units and missile launch pads. He was also compiling general reports on security checkpoints, entrances to Yemeni cities, military camps, schools, hospitals, organizations and human settlements inside Yemen.
Yemeni missile shoots down Saudi-led fighter jet in JawfThe Yemeni air defense units have shot down a Saudi-led Tornado fighter jet with a surface-to-air missile in Jawf province.
The top Yemeni official highlighted that the second spy cell was affiliated to the Signals Intelligence Agency (SIA) – the UAE intelligence agency, and was run by fugitive Emad Mohamed Abdullah Saleh.
Ajri said Saleh was apparently involved in recruiting spies and that the spies were employed in sensitive and vital state centers to collect classified information, and provide members of the Saudi-led coalition engaged in a military onslaught on Yemen with it.
Special elements of the cell were also trained to carry out assassinations and detonate improvised explosive devices in order to destabilize security and disturb public tranquility.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past nearly five years.
The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.