Saudi Monarch says all infiltrators driven out
Yemen army, Houthi rebels clash near Saudi border
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz confirmed late Monday that all armed infiltrators have been driven of the Saudi territory by the country’s armed forces. He said that all residents who have been evacuated from their villages due to fighting are being taken care of with the government.
The Saudi Monarch made those remarks as he chaired a Cabinet meeting in Riyadh. He thanked world leaders for expressing solidarity with Saudi Arabia after the attack.
The Cabinet also thanked the GCC countries for supporting the Kingdom. A GCC Ministerial Council meeting in Doha said recently that any attack on the Kingdom would be considered an attack on all GCC countries. An Arab League meeting also backed the Kingdom’s right to defend its borders.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Asheikh sunderlined Saudi Arabia's rights to defend its territory against any aggression.
“Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself and deter the unjust aggression,” al-Watan Arabic daily quoted the grand mufti as saying on Monday.
He also urged Saudis to pray for soldiers defending the Kingdom’s borders. “Special prayers should be performed for them in mosques,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has the right to defend itself and deter the unjust aggression
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Asheikh
Military compaign against Houthis
Riyadh has been bombarding Yemen's Houthi rebels for almost 12 days now after they staged a cross-border incursion that killed two Saudi border guards and injured a number of others.
The Houthi rebels said the Saudis had been allowing Yemeni troops to launch attacks against them from the mountainous territory they seized inside Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter.
The Saudis are on particularly high alert for any security threats as Muslim pilgrims flock to the kingdom for the Hajj, which begins on Nov. 25, and warned earlier this month against any attempts to politicize it.
Yemen stepped up a military campaign against Houthi rebels in August. Fighting between Yemeni troops and Houthis, who belong to Yemen's Zaidi Shiite minority, has flared on and off since 2004 in the northern province of Saada.
Yemeni armed forces and rebels fought a fierce battle on Monday near the border with Saudi Arabia.
"Heavy fighting was taking place in the middle of the day on the Malahidh front after the army took total control of Jebel Khazaen," in the north of the region, army spokesman Askar Zuail told AFP.
Malahidh, in the west of hilly Saada province, stronghold of the rebellion, has been a key battleground since the army launched its "Operation Scorched Earth" against the rebels.
Saudi Arabia and the United States fear al-Qaeda militants are exploiting instability in Yemen, an impoverished country also grappling with separatist unrest in the south, to establish a stronger base for operations in the region.