Sana’a: A Saudi-led coalition launched several air strikes on Yemen’s Al Houthi-held capital Sana’a overnight, after a string of Al Houthi violations of a ceasefire deal reached in Sweden in December.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said coalition fighter jets attacked seven military targets, including Al Dulaimi Air Base, a drones storage site and military training camps.
Al Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said on Sunday that the Western-backed coalition had conducted 24 air strikes on Sana’a since Saturday evening, including four on the air base.
The coalition operation on Saturday night targeted and destroyed seven military support facilities with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAV, capabilities belonging to the Iranian-backed Al Houthi militias across Sana’a, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
In a statement released this morning, Colonel Turki Al Malki, the Official Spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, said that the operation followed “precise intelligence conducted over a long period of time”, which included monitoring and surveilling Al Houthi militia activities and their movements in order to learn about the system’s components, its infrastructure and operational and logistical connection, as well as its communication system and the whereabouts of foreign experts.
He indicated that the destroyed targets include UAV storage facilities, workshops used for manufacturing and storage of spare parts, and others for installation and bomb-equipping, as well as locations utilised for testing and launch-pad preparation, and terrorist-activity training facilities.
Al Malki affirmed that the targeting operation adheres to the Customary International Humanitarian Law, and that the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition have undertaken all preventative action and necessary measures to protect civilians and avoid collateral damage.
He concluded his statement by reaffirming the Coalition’s commitment to follow the International Humanitarian Law in all its military operations, as well as its commitment to preventing terrorist Al Houthi militias and other terrorist organisations from using and accessing such advanced capabilities that pose a threat to regional and international security.
“The raids were the likes of which we have not seen for a year,” Sana’a resident Arwa Abdul Karim told Reuters.
The escalation in fighting, which follows a deadly Al Houthi drone attack last week on a Yemeni government military parade, raises doubts about the chances of a second round of UN-sponsored talks this month aimed at ending the nearly four-year war.
Tens of thousands have died in the war which pits the Iran-backed Al Houthi movement against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
He was ousted from power in 2014, and an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in 2015 to restore his internationally-recognised government.
The United Nations is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreement in the port city of Hodeida, the main entry point for most of Yemen’s imports and aid.
A deal was reached in UN-sponsored talks in Sweden last month to avert a full-scale assault on the port, in the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years.
The truce has largely held in Hodeida, which is controlled by the Al Houthis with thousands of coalition-backed forces massed on the outskirts. But the withdrawal of forces by both sides has stalled over disagreements over who would control the Red Sea city.
-With inputs from WAM