Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has claimed to have captured thousands of “enemy troops,” including Saudi army officers and soldiers and hundreds of armoured vehicles.
The Houthis rebels said on Sunday that they had killed some 200 enemy fighters and took 2,000 others prisoner in an August offensive near the southern Saudi region of Najran.
The Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said: “More than 200 were killed in dozens of (missile and drone) strikes while trying to escape or surrender.” He added: “Over 2,000 fighters were taken prisoner,” saying most of them were Yemeni but that they included other prisoners.
Saudi Arabia, which leads a coalition that has been battling the Houthis has not responded to Houthi announcement that they had carried out the attack.
Houthi-run Al Masirah TV broadcast images of armoured vehicles hit by blasts and what the Houthis said were dozens of surrendering fighters. Two of those men, speaking to the camera, said they were from Saudi Arabia.
Yemeni anti-Houthi troops, supported by air strikes of the Saudi-led coalition, have in recent months fought Houthi forces in the Kataf region of Yemen’s northern Saada province near the Saudi border.
Local sources have said the Houthis have captured scores of Yemeni troops in the battles.
The anti-Houthi coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from Western countries, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Iran-backed Houthis ousted the government from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014.
A UN-brokered prisoner swap deal agreed between the Houthis and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government last December involving some 7,000 detainees on each side has yet to happen.
The Houthis, who had recently stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi cities have claimed responsibility for the largest-ever attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14.
The Houthis said on September 20 they would halt missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the alliance stopped its operations.