Yemen’s Houthis reveal mass capture of soldiers in video
The Iran-backed Houthi movement had earlier claimed to have killed 200 fighters loyal to the internationally-recognised government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and captured 2000 more in a major offensive near the Najran area of Saudi Arabia in August.
"More than 200 were killed in dozens of (missile and drone) strikes while trying to escape or surrender," Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree said.
"Over 2,000 fighters were taken prisoner," he added, saying most of them were Yemeni but that they included other prisoners.
He said that the three-day "large-scale" operation was launched on August 25, and showed footage purportedly of the attack, but it was not clear why the announcement was being made weeks later.
A Yemeni government source confirmed to AFP that some 200 soldiers were killed in an attack in late August, but that only about 1,300 fighters were still being held, including 280 who were wounded.
The source said that Yemeni troops were surrounded for four days by the Houthis in the rebels' northern stronghold of Saada province.
The “enemy soldiers” were captured in the attack that was supported by the movement’s drone, missile and air defence units, a statement by the rebels said.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s conflict on the side of Hadi’s government.
The Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV showed images of armoured vehicles damaged by blasts, as well as surrendering soldiers.
Two of the soldiers shown on Al-Masirah said they were from Saudi Arabia. A Houthi military spokesman said that the offensive had defeated three “enemy military brigades”, resulting in the capture of thousands of troops and hundreds of armoured vehicles.
The Saudi defence ministry denied the Houthis’ claims.
Forces loyal to the internationally-recognised Yemeni government have recently fought the Houthis in the northern Yemeni province of Saada, backed by Saudi airstrikes.
It comes after the Houthis recently claimed responsibility for two attacks on Aramco oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, which the US and Saudi Arabia have blamed on Iran.
The Houthis have also offered to halt all strikes on Saudi Arabia in exchange for a ceasefire. They also said on Monday that they had freed 290 prisoners in a prisoner exchange deal supervised by the United Nations.
Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands of people have died as a result of indiscriminate airstrikes, fighting, or famine caused by war.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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