Hezbollah denied on Saturday media reports that several of its members had been killed in Yemen as the coalition of largely Sunni Muslim countries led by Riyadh has been hitting Houthi rebels in Yemen with air strikes in a bid to restore the government of ousted President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
“The Saudi Asharq al-Awsat daily and some Saudi and Lebanese news outlets have claimed that Hezbollah members have been martyred in Yemen,” said the party’s press office in a statement.
The statement added that these reports are “totally baseless.”
But it stopped short of denying whether any of its members are fighting in the Yemen war .
Al-Mustaqbal newspaper reported on Saturday that several Hezbollah fighters were killed while helping the Shiite Houthi rebels.
Sources told al-Mustaqbal daily that Hezbollah’s involvement in battles in Sanaa is “possible as several of its fighters and experts, who hold the Lebanese nationality, were in Yemen’s Sanaa before the rebels seized swathes of territory in Yemen since they entered Sanaa last September.
The sources stressed that Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard presence in Yemen isn’t a secret, pointing out that several military experts have been sent to aid the Houthis.
Last month, a Gulf diplomatic official said that there are about 5,000 Iranians, Hezbollah and Iraqi militia on the ground in Yemen.
Hezbollah is now militarily involved in Syria, where it is bolstering the embattled regime, and in Iraq as part of the Iranian-led Shiite militia force that is fighting the Islamic State
Like the situation in Yemen , Hezbollah also denied initial deaths of its members in Syria. But during the past year alone over 600 members were killed in Syria according to reports .
BBC Arabic reported on March 27 that Qassem Suleimani the head of the Qods Force, the foreign arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps who has been heading up the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militia attack against the Islamic state in Tikrit was dispatched by the Islamic Republic of Iran to Yemen reportedly to help organize the Shiite Houthi rebels following the Saudi-led airstrikes .
Hezbollah was established in 1982 by the Qods Force. Suleimani has reportedly become the de facto leader of all Shiite militias fighting in the middle East , including Hezbollah .
2 Iranian officers captured
Local militiamen in the Yemeni city of Aden said they captured two Iranian military officers advising Houthi rebels during fighting on Friday evening, Reuters reported
If confirmed, the presence of two Iranian officers, who the local militiamen said were from an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, would further worsen relations between Tehran and Riyadh who are vying for dominance in the region.
Three sources in the southern port city’s anti-Houthi militias said the Iranians, identified as a colonel and a captain, were seized in two separate districts that have been rocked by heavy gun battles.
“The initial investigation revealed that they are from the Quds Force and are working as advisors to the Houthi militia,” one of the sources told Reuters.