Qatar sends 1,000 ground troops to Yemen

Qatar sends 1,000 ground troops to Yemen

Sanaa - The soldiers are backed by 200 armoured vehicles and 30 Apache helicopters.



By Reuters

Published: Mon 7 Sep 2015, 2:42 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Sep 2015, 10:02 PM

Qatar has sent around 1,000 ground troops to Yemen, Doha-based Al Jazeera television said on Monday, their first reported involvement in a Saudi Arabia-backed offensive against the dominant Houthi group.

Military sources said Qatari forces were on their way to Yemen and preparing to join a new push on Houthi positions in the capital Sanaa, though they told Reuters the soldiers had not yet entered the country.

The reported involvement of Qatari ground troops came amid an escalation of the conflict days after a missile strike that killed dozens of Gulf Arab soldiers.

Al Jazeera's English website said 1,000 Qatari soldiers, backed by 200 armoured vehicles and 30 Apache helicopters had been deployed.

The Qatari foreign ministry made no immediate comment on the report.

SAUDI SPECIAL FORCES

A Qatar-based defence source said the number of Qatari troops was less than 1,000. "They are as of now not deployed in Yemen but in Saudi Arabia to protect the border," the source added.

But a local Yemeni official in the oil-producing Marib province east of Sanaa said the Qatari contingent had "crossed Al Wadia border post" between Saudi Arabia and Yemen and were heading to Marib - where Hadi loyalists have been preparing for an offensive against Sanaa.

The Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper said on Monday that Saudi Arabia had also sent "huge reinforcements" of its elite forces, along with Qatari troops, to Marib.

"Final preparations are being made for a decisive battle, before moving on to liberate Sanaa," Al Hayat said.


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