Saudi Officials Say 10 Soldiers Slain in Yemen

09/07/2015 - 22:34 PM

Kordab Law

CAIRO — A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s military said Saturday that 10 Saudi soldiers were killed in a rebel missile strike a day earlier inYemen, raising the death toll from the attack to at least 60.

It was the first public acknowledgment by the Saudis that they have ground troops in Yemen, where they are leading a coalition to roll back gains by the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies.

The United Arab Emirates said 45 of its soldiers were killed in the attack on Friday, when rebels hit an ammunition depot in Marib Province, about 75 miles east of the capital, Sana. It was the deadliest day for the military in the nation’s 44-year history.

In a statement, the Saudi spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, said, “Ten Saudi soldiers from the Arab coalition forces were martyred” in the attack on the weapons depot.

Bahrain, another member of the coalition, said Friday that five of its soldiers also had been killed.

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The Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States, is made up mainly of Persian Gulf nations. It has been carrying out airstrikes against the rebels since March.

Before Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Bahrain confirmed the casualties in the attack in Marib, coalition countries had avoided acknowledging that they had troops in Yemen.

Yemeni security officials have said that Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian and Jordanian military advisers are training hundreds of fighters at a military base in Aden. The Saudis are also supplying weapons and providing military advice in the fight for control of Yemen.

The rebels and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are fighting forces loyal to President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia, as well as southern separatists and local militias.

Officials from the Houthi news office confirmed that they had fired a missile in Marib, which had been a staging ground for what pro-government forces described as a coming assault on the Houthis’ strongholds.


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