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Hezbollah Brushes off Saudi Charges of Yemen Rebel Aid

The Lebanese Shiite militant movement Hezbollah on Monday dismissed as “ridiculous” Saudi charges that it aids Yemen’s Houthi rebels in launching strikes against the kingdom.

On Sunday, the spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said Houthi rebels were “militarizing” Sanaa airport and using it as a “main center for launching ballistic missiles and drones” towards the kingdom, with help from Iran and Hezbollah.

In a brief statement on Monday, Hezbollah responded: “What was said in the press conference… on so-called evidence of Hezbollah’s role in Yemen is insignificant and ridiculous and does not warrant a response.”

The Saudi accusations came as the coalition intensified an aerial bombing campaign against the Iran-backed Houthis in retaliation for deadly attacks on the kingdom, including a missile strike a day earlier which killed two people.

They were the first such deaths in the kingdom in years.

The Saudi bombing resulted in three deaths on Saturday in the Yemeni town of Ajama, northwest of Sanaa, according to medics.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in Yemen in 2015 to back the internationally recognized government after the Houthis had taken over the capital Sanaa months earlier.

Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed in Yemen, in what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In late October, Riyadh suspended diplomatic ties with Lebanon after the airing of statements by the then-Lebanese information minister criticizing the military intervention in Yemen.

Later, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said that Hezbollah’s dominance in Lebanon, and not just the minister’s comments, had prompted the kingdom to cut ties.

Since the coalition intervened almost seven years ago to support Yemen’s government, Saudi Arabia has regularly accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with weapons and Hezbollah of training the insurgents.

Tehran denies the charges, and Hezbollah has previously denied sending fighters or weapons to Yemen.

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