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Yemen rebels claim mass capture of Saudi soldiers in attack

Dubai: Yemen’s Houthi rebels say they have captured many Saudi soldiers and officers in a large operation near the border between the two countries, shortly after the kingdom agreed to a limited ceasefire with the Iranian-backed group.

If true, the escalation will probably deal a blow to efforts to end a war that has killed thousands and triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Saudi Arabia mobilised a military coalition in 2015 to back Yemen’s internationally recognised government against the Shiite rebels.

The Houthis, in a statement carried by the Saba news agency, said they had destroyed three enemy brigades after “just 72 hours of the operation”.

Houthi rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, last month.

Houthi rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, last month.Credit:AP

Thousands of people have been taken prisoners, including “many Saudi commanders, officers and soldiers”. A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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