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Al-Houthi rebels issue warning to Riyadh

SANAA, Yemen, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Al-Houthi rebel representatives warned that continued Saudi intervention into Yemen could provoke widespread war in the region.

Mohammad Abd al-Salam, a spokesman for the rebel group, told Iran's al-Alam satellite news network that his fighters were successful at repelling a ground invasion into Yemen by forces from Saudi Arabia.

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Yemen launched a scorched-earth campaign against al-Houthi rebels in August. Saudi Arabia entered the fight recently against the Shiite rebel group, escalating its border security measures and launching an air offensive against rebel outposts in north Yemen.

The Sunni government in Yemen blames Iran, meanwhile, for meddling in its affairs by supporting al-Houthi rebels.

Riyadh, for its part, expressed concern that Yemen could fall into the hands of al-Qaida loyalists bent on attacking the Saudi monarchy. Ibrahim al-Rubaish, a top al-Qaida theologian believed to be in Yemen, called on his followers to embark on an assassination campaign against the royal family.

Salam, the rebel spokesman, rejected claims made by Riyadh that it was justified to intervene in Yemen in order to protect its borders, pointing to aerial raids some 60 miles inside Yemeni territory.

He further warned that continued Saudi intervention could lead to an open-ended war in the region.

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