Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has temporarily closed down 11 schools near the border with Yemen because of increasing security issues, Gulf News has learned.

On Tuesday a Saudi security officer was killed and 11 others wounded in a fierce encounter with unknown gunmen, who infiltrated into Saudi territories across the border.

An Interior Ministry source said in a statement that the incident took place on Tuesday morning in a border region next to the northern part of Yemen.

"The armed men were seen infiltrating into the territory of Saudi Arabia at Dukhan Mountain, near Khald Border Post in Khoba Sector of Jizan Region. These infiltrators had fired at Border Guard patrols with various weapons resulting in the martyrdom of a security official and wounding eleven others," the source said while adding that the situation is still under a "follow-through pursuit".

"The Kingdom will do what it takes to preserve the security of the homeland and protect its borders and deter those infiltrators and their likes from any side they are," the statement said adding that the gunmen used "various weapons" in their attack in the mountainous Jizan region.


Speaking to Gulf News, a source said that the infiltrators were Al Houthi rebels from the Al Zaidi Shiite sect, who have been battling with the Yemeni government forces on the northern regions of Sa'ada and Amran bordering Saudi Arabia.

Al Houthi rebels claimed they have seized mountainous territory inside Saudi Arabia but was not confirmed by official sources.

"Complete control has been taken yesterday evening of Jabal Al Dukhan ...after attacks during which the aggressor was eliminated," the rebels said in statement posted on their website late on Tuesday.

"The [Al] Houthi infiltration and attack follows an accusation of the rebels that the Saudi authorities were allowing Yemeni forces to use one of their military bases in Dukhan Mountain in their ongoing military operation against Al Houthis," the source said, adding that the rebels' target was actually the military base.

In an earlier statement, Al Houthis warned Saudi Arabia against its involvement in the fighting by extending support to the government.

Meanwhile, the Saudi security forces foiled infiltration of a large number of people from across the Yemeni border and smuggling in of huge quantity of drugs.

The media spokesman for the Border Guards said some 30,557 infiltrators have been arrested and large quantities of drugs seized over the past two weeks.

Riyadh Dr Jama'an Bin Ragoush, deputy president of the Naif Arab University for Security Sciences, described the counselling committees, launched by the Interior Ministry to tackle the scourge of terrorism, is the major initiative made by the Saudi government to dismantle terror cells.

He also stressed the need to strengthen the security apparatus to root out terror from Saudi soil.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here yesterday with the theme: "Capabilities of the security forces and their impact in fighting terror," Dr Jama'an noted that terrorism has different manifestations and tactics based on highly advanced technologies. He said terrorism is one of the gravest dangers facing humanity today.

The seminar was attended by senior officials and specialists representing the ministries of interior and justice as well from various security organisations from 10 Arab countries, including Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Qatar, Kuwait, and Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

On his part, one of the participants, Brigadier General Ebrahim Mansour Sourkati from the Sudanese embassy in the Kingdom told Gulf News that the seminar focused on security and cooperation.