Saudi soldiers get Yemen war bonus from king


RIYADH : Saudi soldiers on the front lines of the war in Yemen are getting a month’s extra salary from King Salman, official media said.
The handout comes after an escalation of the 17-month-old war following the suspension of peace talks between Yemeni rebels and the internationally recognised government.
King Salman “has ordered paying a month’s salary to active participants at the front lines” of the Yemen operation, which began in March last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Monday.
“The order covers employees of the ministries of interior, defence, and the National Guard,” it said, without giving the total cost of the bonus.
It comes as the kingdom battles a projected $87-billion (80-billion-euros) deficit in 2016 after oil revenues collapsed by more than half over the past two years.
In April, Saudi Arabia announced its wide-ranging Vision 2030 plan to diversify the oil-dependent economy.
Dozens of Saudi troops have died along the border or on the Yemeni battlefield since the kingdom launched coalition operations in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition acted in support of Yemen’s government against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies who overran much of the country. Coalition jets struck targets around Yemen’s rebel-held capital Sanaa for the first time in three months last week.
The bombing came after increased ceasefire violations by the rebels and suspension of the United Nations-brokered talks in Kuwait, the coalition said.
In late July, 12 Saudi soldiers were killed in border clashes during the most serious fighting in months along the frontier.