Saudi ambassador says Iran and Hezbollah operatives are advising Yemen rebels

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WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States says Iran has been playing a key role in backing the Houthi (HOO'-thee) advance in Yemen.

Adel al-Jubeir (AD'-duhl ahl-joo-BEHR') says Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, as well as operatives from the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, are on the ground in Yemen advising the Houthis.

Al-Jubeir briefed reporters in the Saudi embassy in Washington Thursday.

His comments underscore the geopolitical rivalry at work in Saudi Arabia's decision to order airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and Iran are bitter regional rivals.

The strikes are aimed at degrading the Shiite Houthis' ability to wage war and restoring Yemen's president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He arrived in the Saudi capital Thursday after fleeing Yemen Wednesday.

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