RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen on Monday said its forces killed eight members of Lebanon’s Shiite militant group Hezbollah in an air strike in northern Yemen, near the Saudi border.

“The coalition killed 41 terrorist elements in Maran and destroyed their vehicles and equipment. Among the dead were eight members of Lebanese Hezbollah, including a commander,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said in a statement, without offering details on how the fighters were killed. Maran is in Saada province, a stronghold of Yemen’s Shiite Huthi rebels who are backed by Iran.

It was the first official announcement by the coalition of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters being killed in Yemen although Maliki told AFP it was “not the first time”.

Hezbollah did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment on the claim.

The coalition has frequently accused Iran of providing weapons to the Huthis, namely ballistic missiles that have targeted the kingdom with increasing frequency.

Iran, also a backer of Hezbollah, has repeatedly denied arming the Huthis.—AFP