Yemen’s military forces and their allies in the Houthi Ansarullah movement have captured 85 militants fighting for Saudi Arabia in its ongoing aggression of the impoverished country.
Yemen’s al-Masirah TV said on Monday that the “mercenaries” were detained in the cities of al-Watiah and Rada’ in the province of Bayda.
The report said the pro-Saudi forces were returning to their bases in the northern Ma’rib province when they were nabbed by the Yemeni forces.
Meantime, tens of other militants, some of them members of Yemen’s branch of al-Qaeda, were reportedly arrested or killed in the southwestern province of Ta’izz.
Yemenis also managed to seize control of two mountainous regions from militants in the northern province of Jawf.
The gains are the latest in a string of successful operations against elements who have been facilitating Saudi air campaign against Yemen. More than 8,400 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since Saudi Arabia started its aggression against Yemen a year ago.
Yemenis have used the captured Saudi soldiers and mercenaries as a bargaining chip in talks with opponents, including the fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Riyadh. Earlier this month, the Yemeni side exchanged a captive Saudi army officer against seven fighters in the first case of direct negotiations with the Saudis.
Saudi fighter jets continued to pound targets in northern Yemen on Monday, with reports suggesting that attacks were carried out in the provinces of Sana’a, Ma’rib and Jawf, without immediate reports on possible casualties.
The Saudi air campaign against Yemen suffered a major setback on Monday as an Emirati warplane contributing to the airstrikes crashed south of the country. Military sources in Saudi Arabia said the Apache jet crashed in Aden due to technical fault while it was conducting an airstrike.