- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

JIZAN, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said on Monday that one of the kingdom’s border guards was killed and two others were wounded from gunfire and mortar shells fired from inside Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes for the past three weeks against Yemen’s Iran-backed Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies, forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. It is also taking part in U.S.-led airstrikes targeting Islamic State group militants in Iraq and Syria.

The ministry said in a statement that border guards in Saudi’s southern province of Najran came under heavy fire late Sunday night from Yemen. It did not specify who the attackers were.

At least six other Saudi soldiers have been killed in separate incidents this month in clashes with the Houthis along the border with Yemen.

Also Monday, the ministry said security would be boosted at shopping centers and oil facilities across the country after receiving information about possible threats to the sites.

“Precautionary measures were put in place to protect against an attempt by militants to target the facilities, said Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki.

At malls in Riyadh, extra security searches of bags have been in place since Saturday.

The kingdom and its Arab allies launched the airstrikes targeting Yemen’s Houthis who have overrun much of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country and forced its U.S. and Gulf-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee his country in the face of the rebel advance.

Saudi Arabia says the Houthis are being armed by rival Iran - a claim both the rebels and Tehran deny. Iran says it has only provided political and humanitarian support to the group.

Saudi troops have been boosted along its mountainous border provinces of Najran and Jizan. Since the airstrikes began, Saudi soldiers and Houthis frequently fire mortar shells and sniper fire at one another from across the border.

The security concerns prompted U.S. diplomatic missions in the kingdom to halt consular services for a week in March. Two police officers were killed in a drive-by shooting in Riyadh earlier this month.



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