DUBAI (Reuters) - A senior military officer of Yemen’s Houthi movement has been killed in clashes on the border with Saudi Arabia, a source in the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iranian-allied group said on Saturday.
Major-General Hassan Almalsi, head of Houthi special forces, was killed on Thursday while attempting to infiltrate a squad of Houthi fighters into the kingdom’s southern province of Najran, the source said.
The coalition has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally-backed government to power after Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa, made gains in other provinces and forced the government to flee into exile.
U.N.-sponsored talks to end the fighting that has killed more than 10,000 people collapsed in failure last month and the Houthi movement and allied Yemeni forces resumed shelling into neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia sees Iran as the paramount threat to the Middle East’s stability because of its support for Shi’ite militias that Riyadh says have inflamed sectarian violence.
Tehran views the Houthis as the legitimate authority in Yemen but denies accusations by Saudi Arabia and Yemen that it supplies them with arms. The Houthis say they are fighting a revolution against a corrupt government and its Gulf backers.
Houthi forces fire missiles or mortars almost daily into southern Saudi border areas including Najran, and often test Saudi defenses with guerrilla-style incursions.
Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Andrew Bolton