Saudi King mobilizes National Guard

Misfer al-Qahtani, a 70 year-old retired National Guard officer wears his traditional Saudi dagger in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (File: AP)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz ordered on Tuesday that the Kingdom’s National Guard take part in the military campaign against Houthi militias in Yemen, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

Minister of the Saudi National Guard Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah said his forces are on high alert and are ready to take part in Operation Decisive Storm, a Saudi-led coalition of 10 states battling the advance of the Iran-backed rebels.

The National Guard is “honored to answer the call to join their brothers and colleagues in other military bodies,” Prince Mutaib was quoted by Al Arabiya as saying.

The guard is a trained army of 100,000 men, divided into infantry units, mechanised brigades, special units and military police.

Spokesman for the coalition Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said last week that ground forces would not be deployed until there was a need to do so.

Several members of Saudi Arabia's forces have been killed since the country and its Arab allies began bombing Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen since March 26.

On April 11, Houthi rebels killed three Saudi border guards in a mortar attack, the Saudi Defense Ministry said, as a plane loaded with medical aid arrived in the rebel-held Yemeni capital.

Also earlier in April, two members of Saudi Arabia’s coastal guard were killed while on patrol in the Asir region after coming under heavy fire from the Yemeni side of the border.

Operation Decisive Storm has been carrying out air strikes targeting Houthi militants and militias loyal to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh since its launch on March 26 in an effort to combat their advance in the embattled country

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44