RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition said it launched air raids on Sunday targeting ballistic missile and drone depots in Yemen’s capital, two days after the Iran-backed Houthis fired missiles into the kingdom.
Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the coalition fighting alongside Yemen’s internationally-recognised government, said the strikes were in retaliation for ballistic missiles attacks on “civilian targets” in Saudi Arabia.
The coalition “carried out a unique military operation to destroy legitimate military targets for the capabilities of assembling and firing of Iranian ballistic missiles and drones in the capital Sanaa”, he said, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.
He said Sanaa had become “a Houthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the kingdom”.
The attacks destroyed storage, assembly and firing sites in the districts of Faj Atan, Al-Amad Camp and Al-Nahdain mountain, he said.
Riyadh said on Friday it intercepted ballistic missiles fired by the Houthis in a “systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians”, in what it branded a breach of international law.
A Houthi spokesman said the group had targeted oil installations in the kingdom with a dozen Sammad-3 drones and ballistic missiles.
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Houthis, a charge Tehran denies.
The Saudi-led coalition also said its naval forces foiled an “imminent terrorist” attack by the Houthis in the Red Sea, a major commercial shipping channel.
The forces destroyed an unmanned boat laden with explosives that was launched from Hodeidah province in western Yemen, Maliki said in a statement on SPA, without identifying the targets.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Houthi movement, which has been battling the coalition since 2015 in a conflict that is largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2020