At least five British Special Forces operators have been wounded in gun battles as part of a top-secret UK military campaign in Yemen, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The elite Special Boat Service (SBS) troops, whose presence in the war-ravaged country is shrouded in secrecy, suffered gunshot injuries in fierce clashes with Iranian-backed rebel militia in recent months. The SBS operators were treated for leg and arm wounds following the battles in the Sa’dah area of northern Yemen, where up to 30 crack British troops are based. The casualties are understood to be now recovering in the UK.
An SBS source said: ‘The guys are fighting in the inhospitable desert and mountainous terrain against highly committed and well-equipped Houthi rebels. The SBS’s role is mainly training and mentoring but on occasions, they have found themselves in firefights and some British troops have been shot.
‘In a contact a few weeks ago, an SBS guy was shot in the hand and another guy was shot in the leg. Their injuries were a reminder that this is a very dangerous assignment. Obviously, nothing about the mission will be confirmed publicly by the Ministry of Defence unless a UK soldier is killed – they’d have to announce that.’
The Government’s official position is that it is seeking a ‘sustainable political solution to the Yemen conflict’.