Riyadh- A joint military exercise between Saudi infantry and Pakistani Special Forces kicked off Sunday at King Salman's Mountain Warfare Center on Shamrakh field near Saudi Arabia's southwestern city of Baha, the official Saudi press agency reported today.

The drill, dubbed "Al-Samsam 5," comes as "an extension of a series of joint exercises between Saudi ground forces and a group of forces from friendly countries, including Pakistan," drill director Shaeh bin Abdullah al-Qarni said, during a speech delivered at a ceremony marking the occasion, Saudi Arabia's SPA press agency reported.

"The exercise will focus on the war in difficult mountainous terrain environments and irregular operations," al-Qarni was quoted as saying by SPA, noting that "participants in the exercise include the Royal Saudi Air Forces, Land Forces Aviation, and units of the Border Guards."

Commander of the Taif Military Region Faris bin Abdullah al-Omari, for his part, said the exercise had been "prepared in advance and programmed within the range of strategic plans for training and the development of the efficiency of Saudi forces," SPA reported.

Al-Omari also noted that the exercise "has nothing to do with any current military operations, but it is a complement to raise the level of performance and effectiveness of the military forces," according to SPA.

Jaweed Iqbal, the oldest officer in Pakistan's armed forces, for his part, was quoted by SPA as saying that the exercise was aimed at "exchanging experience and raising the level of efficiency and performance in the military forces of both countries."

Iqbal also noted that Pakistan maintained "close military ties with Saudi Arabia" and that the Pakistani army regularly "exchanges experiences with military forces in the Saudi Kingdom," according to SPA.

The Pakistani officer went on to point out that "the biggest proof of that close Saudi-Pakistani ties is that the 'Al-Samsam' exercises have continued for more than ten years," the SPA added.

For the fifth consecutive day on Monday, a joint Arab offensive led by Saudi Arabia carried out airstrikes against positions of the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen, including some in capital Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia said the strikes were in response to appeals by embattled Yemeni President ABD Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to "save the people from the Houthi militias." Asked about the possibility of a ground operation given the difficult mountainous border area between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, coalition spokesman Ahmed al-Asiri said: "If the situation warrants a ground operation, it will happen."

"Our ground troops are well-trained and mountainous areas won't be an obstacle to achieving our objectives if we decide to conduct a ground operation," al-Asiri added.

The SPA did not reveal the number of troops – from either side – participating in the Saudi-Pakistani army drill.