Yemen's Houthi rebels said yesterday they had captured at least 2,000 fighters in a massive-scale operation against the Saudi-led alliance that is fighting the Iran-linked group. Videos released yesterday by the Houthis of the attack showed armored vehicles with stenciled Saudi markings, arms and ammunition the rebels claim they seized. They also showed what appeared to be dead bodies and men in Saudi military uniforms. Several prisoners identified themselves as Saudis. Yahia Sarie, a spokesman for the Houthi forces, claimed in a news conference yesterday that at least 500 coalition fighters were killed or injured in the Houthi offensive mounted in the so-called Axis of Najran on the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
As part of the ongoing operation, rebels also mounted dozens of missile and drone attacks against sites of the "enemy forces," including airbases inside Saudi Arabia, he added without saying when the onslaught began. The official said the operation was a "legitimate response" to the ongoing military campaign by the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the Houthis in Yemen since March 2015.
Earlier this month, the Houthis claimed an attack on major Saudi oil facilities, but Saudi Arabia and the U.S. blamed the attack on Iran, a regional rival of Riyadh. Yemen, one of the Arab world's poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government since late 2014. The ongoing war has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with an estimated 24 million people, close to 80% of the population, in need of assistance and protection in Yemen, according to the U.N.