SANAA (AFP/Reuters) - Yemeni Shia rebels handed two Saudi soldiers over to mediators on Thursday, the defence ministry said, as a fledging truce with the government in the northern mountains moved ahead. Two of the remaining four Saudi prisoners were handed over to mediators, a ministry statement said. The soldiers were then flown by helicopter to Sanaa and left soon afterwards by jet for Riyadh, Saudi Ambassador Ali al-Hamdan told AFP. The two soldiers are Ahmed Abdullah Al-Amri and Khaled Saleh al-Awda, Hamdan said. A spokesman for the rebels said they had begun to hand over the remaining soldiers earlier on Thursday. We have started to hand over the rest of the Saudi soldiers to the ceasefire committee in Saada, Mohammed Abdul Salam told AFP in Dubai by telephone. Four committees in north Yemen are charged with implementing the ceasefire between the rebels and the government, which went into effect on Friday. The released soldiers will be received by Saudi Assistant Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan Thursday evening, a Saudi military official told AFP. We dont know how many soldiers will be released, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. On Monday, the rebels freed the first of the five Saudi soldiers they captured during three months of clashes on the border. The rebels had complained on Sunday that Saudi Arabia was refusing to release the prisoners it is holding in exchange for the soldiers. Members of the ceasefire committees said that the Yemeni army could deploy along the border with Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Meanwhile, Yemeni forces hunting al Qaeda fighters who have based their regional command in the Gulf Arab country arrested three suspected militants east of the capital Sanaa, state media said on Thursday. The Defence Ministrys online newspaper said the men were arrested in their car, which bore no licence plates, in the province of Maarib, among the areas at the centre of the hunt for al Qaeda fighters. Yemen, backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia, has stepped up its war on al Qaeda since the networks Yemen wing said it was behind the failed Dec. 25 attempt to bomb a U.S.-bound passenger plane. The paper said the three men were aged from 20 to 29, but gave no further details on their identity and did not say when they were arrested. Yemen launched an air strike last month on the house and farm of Ayed al-Shabwani, a leading Yemen-based al Qaeda militant in Maarib, but never released word on casualties. Shabwani was one of six al Qaeda militants the goverment had previously said died in an earlier air strike, though al Qaeda denied at the time that any of its members had been killed.