Beirut (AFP) – Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Friday denied that any of its fighters were killed in Yemen after claims by the Saudi-led coalition that it killed eight of its members there.
The coalition battling Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen on Monday said its forces killed eight members of Hezbollah, including a commander, in the northern Maran province.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday dodged the question of whether he had fighters in Yemen but denied any had been killed.
“We’ve recently said that for certain reasons and interests, we do not say whether we have a presence in Yemen,” Nasrallah said during a televised address.
“But whether we’re there or not, I categorically deny that there are Hezbollah martyrs in Yemen — not in the last few days nor in recent years,” he said.
Nasrallah has denied sending fighters or weapons to Yemen in the past.
“Is there something else? We do not deny, we do not confirm,” he said on Friday.
The Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly accused Hezbollah and its backer Iran of providing help to Huthi rebels, including ballistic missiles from Tehran that have targeted Saudi Arabia.
Iran denies arming the Huthis.
Monday was the first time the coalition officially announced Hezbollah deaths in Yemen, although its spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said they were not the first Hezbollah fighters killed there.
Nearly 10,000 people have died in the Yemen war since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the government’s fight against the Huthis.
The United Nations has called Yemen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.