Saudi Arabia has reportedly removed border fences with Yemen in a measure that could suggest Riyadh is preparing for a ground invasion of its southern neighbor days after unleashing airstrikes against the violence-hit country.
Local Yemeni sources reported on Thursday that Saudi forces had opened border fences with the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah.
Also on Thursday, local media sources broadcast online video footage, which apparently shows Saudi tanks being transferred to border areas with Yemen.
Meanwhile, other reports said al-Qaeda militants in Yemen stormed the center of the port city of al-Mukalla in the province of Hadhramaut early on Thursday, releasing some 300 inmates, including dozens of militants.
Saudi Arabia’s air campaign in Yemen started on March 26 in a bid to restore power to fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
Nearly 200 people have lost their lives in Yemen since Saudi-led airstrikes began on March 26. Many of the casualties are civilians, among them women and children.
Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
However, the Ansarullah movement later said Hadi had lost his legitimacy as president of Yemen after he escaped Sana’a to Aden in February.
On March 25, the embattled president fled the southern city of Aden, where he had sought to set up a rival power base, to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, after Ansarullah revolutionaries advanced on Aden.
The Ansarullah fighters took control of the Yemeni capital in September 2014 and are currently moving southward. The revolutionaries said the Hadi government was incapable of properly running the affairs of the country and containing the growing wave of corruption and terror.