10 February 2012
SANA’A: Yemen officials confirmed on Friday that three Saudi Arabia nationals had been kidnapped by al-Houthis fighters while crossing the Yemeni northern province of al-Jawf, which sits on the Yemeni-Saudi border.
The province, which has been under the control of Salafists, a group of Sunni ultra-conservatives, has slowly come under the control of the Shia militants, as their leader, Sheikh Abdel Maleh al-Houthi used the power vacuum left by months of popular uprising against the central government to resume its territorial expansion.
The group, which is now believed to be counting tens of thousands of hardened soldiers within its ranks is controlling the provinces of al-Jawf, Hajjah and Sa’ada with only a few pockets left of resistance.
The three Saudis were stopped at one of al-Houthis’ checkpoints near the Kingdom’s border and were immediately transferred back to Sa’ada, the group’s stronghold.
Ali al-Hamda, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen announced that he was carefully monitoring the situation, stressing that he trusted and applauded the efforts exerted by the Yemeni authorities in solving the matter promptly.
Several politicians from the Joint Meeting Party are saying that the kidnappings were politically motivated and that al-Houthis militants were following a foreign agenda in targeting Saudi nationals.
A recent report made by the Saudi intelligence services claimed that Iran which has for over a decade been financing al-Houthis’ political ambitions as they share the same religious beliefs would be now using the group to target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in essence conduct a war by proxy.
Moreover, Riyadh warned that Iran had already infiltrated many political groups and Media outlets to promote its own regional vision and slowly angle people into siding with Tehran against the Kingdom.
Several incidents in the Yemeni-Saudi border involving al-Houthis loyalists prompted a heightening in security measures with fears that the old border demarcation dispute will resurface. And the al-Houthis are already claiming some Saudi villages as their own