Saudi jets using phosphorus bombs, claim Yemen rebels
SANAA: Rebels in northern Yemen caught between a deadly government onslaught and air raids from across the border on Monday alleged that Saudi warplanes were using phosphorus bombs against them.
“The Saudi air raids resumed this morning. Saudi combat fighter jets launched intense raids against border areas inside Yemeni territory on Sunday night,” rebel spokesman Muhammad Abdessalam told AFP by telephone.
“The Saudi military used phosphorus bombs during those night raids, burning mountainous regions.”
A Saudi government adviser who asked not to be named rejected the claim, saying what the rebels saw was merely flares.
Abdessalam said the raids targeted Malaheez, seven kilometres inside Yemen, as well as the border villages of Hassameh and Shida and several villages around Jebel al-Dukhan mountain which straddles the border.
But Saudi aircraft could not defeat the group’s fighters who “do not have fixed positions”, the rebel spokesman said.
“We are still present in Jebel al-Dukhan,” he said, denying allegations that Riyadh has taken control of the inhospitable mountainous area.
“We expect a ground attack,” Abdessalam said, adding that the rebels had captured Saudi soldiers in a recent incursion.
Saudi authorities insist that attacks by their forces are limited to targeting rebel locations inside Saudi territory.
The Saudi government adviser denied the Saudi military used phosphorous munitions against the rebels. “We used flares, not phosphorus,” he told AFP.
He also said that the kingdom is scaling back its assaults on the rebels, of whom it says it has captured 200 or more.
“The actual heavy shelling of the area is all finished,” he added. “There are now tactical units deployed there. We want to make sure they (the rebels) are neutralised.” afp