A Qatari official confirmed today that the tiny Gulf state had dispatched 1,000 troops for Yemen, “ready to fight” as part of the Arab coalition against Iran-backed Shiite rebels.
The Qatari forces have not yet entered the country but were positioned at Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia, the source told AFP.
It was the first confirmation by an official in Doha of a report this week by Qatar’s Al-Jazeera news channel that the country had sent troops to Yemen.
“We have sent troops who will be deployed along with Saudi troops,” the official said.
“They are at the Saudi/Yemen border, they have not entered Yemen. They should be entering Yemen in the next few days.”
The source added that the Qatari soldiers, armed with heavy ground weapons, were “ready to fight”.
This is believed to be the first time Qatari ground troops have joined the coalition, but the country’s air force has previously taken part in the air campaign which began in March this year.
The deployment comes after a Friday missile attack by the Shiite Huthi rebels killed 60 coalition soldiers — 45 Emiratis, 10 Saudis and five Bahrainis.