AS REPORTED BY Riyadh (AFP)
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the National Guard, a ground force that exists apart from the army, to mobilize for operations against rebels in Yemen, the official SPA news agency said Tuesday.
It did not clarify how the National Guard would take part in the operation, which has seen a Saudi-led coalition launch air strikes against the rebels.
SPA quoted National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah as saying he was “honored” by Salman’s “decision that National Guard forces take part” in the operation.
He signaled the “complete readiness of all National Guard forces to carry out this role alongside other military bodies” in Saudi Arabia.
The force is to “take part in defending the security” of the kingdom, SPA reported, without elaborating.
Saudi Arabia launched the air war against Iran-backed rebel forces in Yemen on March 26. It has so far rejected mounting a ground offensive but Saudi troops have clashed with the rebels in border areas.
The National Guard is a parallel army in Saudi Arabia separate from the armed forces run by the defense ministry.
Recruited from tribes that have traditionally backed Saud dynasty rule, it is a pillar of support for the royal family.
It is led by Miteb, the son of the late King Abdullah and educated at the elite Sandhurst military academy.
The guard is a trained army of 100,000 men, divided into infantry units, merchandised brigades, special units and military police.
MORE DETAILS ARE HERE:
Saudi king mobilises National Guard for Yemen operations – Yahoo News.
FOX NEWS REPORTED EARLIER:
Campaign against Yemen rebels enters new phase, Saudi Arabia says
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition targeting rebels in Yemen with airstrikes said Tuesday that the so-called “Decisive Storm” campaign is over, but that allies will launch a new phase aimed at stopping the rebels.
Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said the objectives of the campaign have been met and that it would cease at midnight.
He said the rebels no longer pose a danger to civilians and that the new phase, called “Renewal of Hope” would focus on rebuilding the country while interdicting the rebels. But Asiri did not rule out future airstrikes against the Houthi rebels.
The announcement came after airstrikes from the coalition killed 20 people in Yemen, officials said.
The U.S.-backed campaign by Saudi Arabia and its allies, mainly Gulf Arab countries, is aimed at crushing the rebels, known as Houthis, who have taken over Sanaa and areas in northern Yemen and have been pressing an offensive to expand their gains in the rest of the country, including the southern port city of Aden.
The ground fighting and the airstrikes have pushed Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, to the brink of collapse. The fighting has also taken on the appearance of a proxy war between Iran, the Shiite powerhouse backing the Houthis, and Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, airstrikes hit a gathering of the Houthis in the western of Ibb, killing 20 fighters, security officials on the ground said. The rebels were assembling to head to Aden as reinforcements in the battle against forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the country from Aden to Saudi Arabia last month.
In Sanaa, death toll from of bombings Monday targeting rebel depots and weapon caches in the Fag Atan mountains overlooking the city rose to 38, medical officials said. The bombings flattened houses and sent villagers fleeing for their lives.
FULL STORY CONTINUES HERE
Saudi King Makes DRASTIC Move In Yemen