Saudis report 375 civilians have been killed near Yemen border

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Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies have fired some 40,000 projectiles from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, killing at least 375 civilians, Saudi officials said on Feb. 1.

On Feb. 1 alone, nearly 130 mortars and 15 missiles were fired by the Houthis and forces loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former president, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, told Reuters.

Saudi Patriot missiles, first used in the Gulf war, have been guarding the border with Yemen. /AFP
Saudi Patriot missiles, first used in the Gulf war, have been guarding the border with Yemen. /AFP

“Now our rules of engagement are: you are close to the border, you are killed,” he said.

Saudi security forces have evacuate a dozen villages near the Yemen border, which has displaced over 7,000 people. Officials also closed more than 500 schools. The civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia include 63 children.

Humanitarian organizations say the coalition’s naval blockade of Yemen, aimed at stopping Iran’s supply of weapons to the Houthis, has pushed the country to the brink of famine.

The coalition is now allowing more ships into both Aden and the Houthi-controlled Red Sea port of Hodeida, Asseri said, adding the coalition conducts random inspections of cargo, but some weapons are still smuggled through.

Asseri said the Saudi-led coalition is currently fighting to control the mountainous Nahm region, which controls access to Yemen’s capital Sanaa.

Meanwhile, at least 30 Saudi coalition troops were killed in a rocket attack on an air base in the Lahji
province, Yemeni military sources said. The sources, aligned with the Houthis, said an OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missile hit the Al Anad air base during a training course for recruits that included troops from Sudan.

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