TEHRAN, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The involvement of Saudi Arabia in the simmering conflict in Yemen amounts to an extension of state Wahhabi terrorism, a top Iranian general said.
Yemeni forces have been engaged in conflict with Shiite al-Houthi rebels since 2004. The fighting intensified when the military launched a scorched earth campaign against the rebel group in early August.
The conflict threatens to spill over to engulf other states in the region. Yemen blames regional affiliations from Iran to Egypt for backing the rebel fighters.
Riyadh entered the conflict recently when rebels crossed the porous mountain border into Saudi Arabia and attacked security officials at border outposts.
Five Saudi soldiers were wounded and two were killed during weekend skirmishes with al-Houthi rebels along the Saudi-Yemeni border.
Iranian Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, the chief of staff for the Iranian joint armed forces, said the Saudi involvement in the Yemeni conflict was the beginning of "state Wahhabi terrorism," Iran's state-funded broadcaster Press TV reports.
Wahhabism describes an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islamic thought that draws on religious teachings to advocate jihad.
Firouzabadi went on to blame the U.S. and British governments for attempting to cause trouble in the region.
Yemeni military leaders trained recently with the U.S. Marines at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island near Beaufort, S.C.