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KSA, Qatar, Sudan troops sent to bolster anti-Houthi coalition

Gulf states have sent thousands of heavily armed troops to reinforce loyalists in Yemen in the battle against Iran-backed Houthi rebels, media reported on Monday.



The reinforcements come after a missile attack by the Shiite insurgents on Friday killed 60 Gulf soldiers — 45 Emiratis, 10 Saudis and five Bahrainis. Qatar’s Al-Jazeera channel reported late on Sunday that 1,000 Qatari soldiers with 200 armored vehicles have arrived in Maarib after crossing the border from Saudi Arabia.



It is the first time Qatari troops are reported to be taking part in operations on the ground in Yemen.



Saudi Arabia also sent elite units to Maarib on Sunday, according to Arab News’ sister publication Asharq Al-Awsat and UAE news agency WAM.



Yemeni military sources in Maarib have confirmed the arrival of some 1,000 Saudi soldiers armed with tanks and other armored vehicles, as well as the Qatari reinforcements.



Military sources have also mentioned preparations in Maarib for an offensive against the rebels and their allies, renegade troops loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh.



Meanwhile, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa announced late on Sunday that his sons, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad and Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, will soon be joining operations in Yemen, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.



“My sons will be joining their brothers in the Arab coalition forces in Yemen as part of their national military duties,” King Hamad said.



Bahrain’s information minister said “this is the first time such a decision is being taken” and that the young sons of the king “are performing their national duties away from the spotlight in a bid to show their sincerity” to their fellow soldiers in the battlefield.



A source close to Al Arabiya News Channel also confirmed that Sudan is preparing to send nearly 6,000 of their troops to assist the coalition.



The announcement comes as coalition spokesman Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri told Al Arabiya that the coalition would refocus its efforts from Sanaa to Taez and Maarib.



Gulf in the Media