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Yemen & Gulf
Two missing Saudi soldiers are dead: Houthis
2010-02-24 08:13:18



The Nation Press -

SANAA - Two Saudi soldiers thought to have been held by Yemen Shiite rebels were actually killed in battle, so the issue of Saudi prisoners is now closed, rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam said on Tuesday

"The last two missing Saudi soldiers were killed in battle," Abdel Salam told AFP.

"They are no longer alive. We informed mediators of their death today, and have indicated where they are buried," he said.

"The issue of Saudi prisoners of war is now closed."

The Saudi military said it had no knowledge of the soldiers' condition.

"We have no information if they have died or not died," General Ibrahim al-Malik, head of public affairs for the Saudi military, told AFP.

The rebels, also known as Houthis, were originally thought to hold five Saudis whom they had captured in three months of fighting with the oil-rich kingdom.

They released one soldier on Feb. 15, then freed two more three days later in line with a truce with the Yemeni government that came into effect the week before.

That truce came after more than five months of heavy fighting between the rebels and the Yemeni government in the northern mountains, which pulled Saudi armed forces into the fray.

Four committees in north Yemen are charged with implementing the ceasefire between the rebels and the government, which went into effect on Feb. 12.

As well as freeing all prisoners and opening roads in the north, the truce requires the rebels to withdraw from government buildings, return arms seized from security forces and hand over captured army posts.

They also had to pledge not to attack Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis, of the Zaidi Shiite minority, have been engaged in sporadic fighting with government forces since 2004.

Saudi Arabia joined the fighting on Nov. 4, accusing the rebels of killing a Saudi border guard and occupying two villages inside Saudi territory.
Meanwhile an article under the name of a senior member of al-Qaeda's Yemen wing that the Yemeni government said it had killed has appeared on an Internet forum, threatening to carry out attacks in the United States.

Yemen declared an open war on al-Qaeda on its territory last month after the group's regional off-shoot claimed responsibility for a failed bomb attack on a Detroit-bound plane in December that grabbed world headlines.

"Today, you have attacked us in the middle of our household, so wait for what will befall you in the middle of yours ... We will blow up the earth from beneath your feet," Qasim al-Raymi, the wing's military commander, said in an article posted earlier this month on a website used by Islamist militants.

Yemen said in January it had killed six regional militant leaders in air strikes, but al-Qaeda later denied this, and other senior members Sanaa had said were dead, such as deputy leader Saeed al-Shehri, have since re-emerged on the websites.

In an audio tape, Shehri, a former inmate of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, called for a regional holy war and a blockade of the Red Sea to cut off U.S. shipments to Israel.

Source : Thenation press servecis
 
 
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