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Saudi king visits area of Yemen border conflict

Monarch orders 10,000 new homes for Jizan's displaced

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz ordered on Wednesday 10,000 new homes to be built for those displaced in the southern province of Jizan, where forces have been battling Yemen's Houthi rebels for four weeks.

The king was on his first visit to the area since the war broke out between Yemen's Zaidi Shiite rebels and Saudi forces along the rugged border with northwest Yemen and was said to be going on an "inspection visit," according to the announcement on the state news agency SPA.

Al Arabiya TV reported that the houses would be built within a year to accommodate the thousands who fled their homes as fighting troops launched a massive campaign to crush rebels that breached the Saudi border early November.

The Saudi military undertook its largest mobilization since the 1990-91 Gulf War following a minor border incursion by the Houthis, deploying fighter bombers, heavy artillery, special forces and naval vessels against the rebels.

The Saudis say they are acting to prevent the Houthis and other threats from crossing into Saudi territory, after a band killed a Saudi border guard and temporarily occupied two Jizan villages on Nov. 3.

The Saudis have evacuated thousands from the border and want to establish a broad no-go zone on either side of the porous frontier to stop both militants and smugglers from crossing.

Analysts say the Saudis are also closely assisting Yemen's government in its effort to crush the rebellion.



[With Agencies]