Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it had captured the head of the Islamic State’s (ISIS) Yemen branch and other key figures atop the terrorist organization, The Washington Times reported.
In a statement, the Saudi Press Agency said the nation’s special forces made multiple arrests and seized guns, ammunition, cash, communications equipment and other items during the June 3 raid. It is unclear exactly where in Yemen the operation took place.
The Saudi government said its special forces arrested Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, the top ISIS commander in Yemen, and “other elements of the terrorist group.”
The operation was a joint effort between the Saudi and Yemeni militaries and its success came after a lengthy period of surveillance, said the Kingdom.
”By fully identifying and understanding their daily routines in the area through monitoring and surveillance, the operation was successful in capturing the terrorists, and ensuring the safety of the women and children inside the house,” said Col. Turki Al Malki, spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen.
ISIS announced the formation of Yemen Province, its Yemeni branch November 13, 2014.
A Saudi-led coalition remains at war with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels inside Yemen. At the same time, Saudi Arabia said the June 3 operation underscores its commitment to fight terrorism in the region.
It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.