Arab Coalition Launches Raids on Military Targets Loyal to Houthis
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.
A coalition statement said the alliance struck military bases, facilities, and weapons storage sites with the aim of “neutralizing the ability of the Houthi militia to carry out acts of aggression”.
“The sorties achieved their goals with full precision,” the coalition said. It had urged civilians to avoid those targets.
The statement stressed the Coalition's resolve to follow all terrorist elements across all of Yemen, all in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and its Customs.
Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister Khalid bin Salman said: "The Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco oil pipes prove their loyalty to Iran," adding that, "Houthis are a tool to advance Iranian agenda in the region."
Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that armed drones attacked two oil pumping stations in the kingdom but did not disrupt output or exports. The Houthis said they were responsible.
Saudi Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubair, said the attack on Saudi oil pipes was ordered by Iran and the militants are an inseparable part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"Attacks by the Houthi militia that is supported by Iran on oil installations in Saudi Arabia are a war crime," the coalition said.
The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the Western-backed coalition, of which it is a main member, would "retaliate hard" for any Houthi attacks on coalition targets.
The Sanaa air strikes and renewed fighting in Yemen's Hodeidah port that breached a UN-sponsored truce in the Red Sea city, could complicate peace efforts to end the four-year war that has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from Western nations, intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore Hadi's government, now based in the southern port of Aden.
The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being puppets of Tehran and say their revolution is against corruption.
The warring parties agreed last December at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden on a ceasefire and troop withdrawal deal in Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis that became the focus of the war last year.
The pact, the first major breakthrough in over four years, stalled for months amid deep suspicion among all parties, but special envoy Martin Griffiths secured some progress when the Houthis started withdrawing from three ports last Saturday.
Pro-coalition troops are expected to pull back as well under the deal once the two sides work out details for a broader phase two redeployment in Hodeidah, the main entry point for Yemen's commercial and aid imports and the Houthis' key supply line.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE accuse the group of smuggling Iranian weapons, including missiles that have been launched at Saudi cities. The Houthis and Tehran deny the accusations.