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Two Saudi border guards dead in clash with smugglers

Fifteen smugglers spotted; 500 kg od hashish seized.

August 8, 2010 1:08 by

Two Saudi border guards were killed on Friday after a clash with drug smugglers at the restive border with Yemen, official media reported.

Saudi Arabia was drawn to a conflict last year with Yemeni Shi’ite rebels at the porous border but Saudi officials use the term “infiltrators” to refer to those rebels.

The clash took place near the Saudi Majaza border post in the southern province of Asir, the official SPA news agency said. “Border patrols on a routine reconnaissance operation spotted a group of 15 smugglers who were trying to cross the border for the purpose of trafficking”.

“When they were warned to retreat to where they came from, they started shooting from several locations,” SPA said quoting a spokesman for the border command in Asir.

The smugglers eventually retreated but the spokesman did not say if there were any casualties among them.

Saudi authorities seized 500 kg (1,100 pounds) of hashish after the clash.

Tensions between government forces and Yemeni Houthi Shi’ite rebels returned to the northern part of Yemen, where the border with Saudi Arabia lies, after Yemeni authorities agreed to a truce with the Houthis in February.

The truce helped halt a war that has raged on and off since 2004 and displaced 350,000 people.

But instability still threatens Yemen, including from al Qaeda and southern separatist rebels.

(Reporting by Souhail Karam; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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