Saudi soldier, Yemenis killed as fighting rages across Yemen
Saudi officials say a Saudi soldier and two Yemenis have been killed in cross-border shooting and shelling by Yemen's rebels.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki says a border guard died on Sunday in the southwestern region of Asir. He says Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, opened fire and Saudi border guards fired back.
A statement from Saudi Civil Defense spokesman, Maj. Yahya bin Abdullah al-Qahtani, says that also on Sunday, two Yemenis died in Houthi shelling of the southern border province of Jizan.
Cross-border fire and shelling has been common since a Saudi-led coalition, which is backed by the United States, launched a campaign of airstrikes against Houthis in March.
Saudi, Emirati and other allied ground troops now are trying to retake Yemen's rebel-held capital, Sanaa.
In Yemen's third city Taiz, southwest of the country, a pro-government garrison has been under rebel siege for months.
Fighting and air raids continued on Monday with Houthi rebels suffering losses in clashes and ambushes on armoured vehicles in the nearby towns of Maqbana and al-Dimna.
"There has been fierce fighting along the western front in the areas of al-Biarara, al-Hasb and Najd Qasim with casualties on both sides," a source in the popular resistance committees told an al-Araby al-Jadeed Yemen correspondent.
Government forces backed by air and ground support from a Saudi-led coalition have recently launched a major offensive aimed at driving the Houthi insurgents out of Taiz.
They have faced strong resistance from the rebels, who seized the capital Sanaa in September 2014 before sweeping southwards, forcing President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Hadi returned on 18 November, two days after the offensive to relieve the siege of Taiz began.
Also on Monday, the Saudi-led coalition carried out air raids in the city of Ibb, killing four rebels, and in Sanaa where one person was killed and others wounded in an air raid, targeting the Bilad al-Rus district.
A local source told al-Araby al-Jadeed that rebels have raided the homes of pro-Hadi activists in Ibb, as well as a journalist's home in Daleh province.
Rebels in Shabwa province have retreated from the town of Beihan because of fears they would be encircled by pro-government forces advancing from al-Bayda to the east.
On Monday, Saudi Arabian media reported that around 170 rebels were killed as they launched an offensive in an area along the border with the southern Saudi province of Jazan.
Pro-government forces have retaken five provinces from the rebels since July.
The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign in March to push back the rebels.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir indicated in late October that coalition military operations in Yemen appeared to be nearing an end, however air raids continue.
The kingdom voiced optimism that UN-led peace talks would begin, after previous attempts at negotiations stalled.
In early November, the UN's special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said he was "very optimistic" negotiations would start by the middle of that month.
More than 5,700 people have been killed in the fighting while 82 percent of the population - 21 million people - are in urgent need of aid.