Smoke billows following an air strike in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. Image Credit: AFP

Aden: The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Al Houthi-held capital Sana’a on Thursday, after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.

The Sana’a strikes targeted nine military sites in and around the city, residents told Reuters. The Al Houthi-run Masirah TV channel reported six air strikes.

The Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemeni government confirmed that its warplanes were bombing rebel targets on Thursday following rebel drone attacks that closed a Saudi pipeline.

"We have begun to launch air strikes targeting sites operated by the Al Houthi militia, including in Sana'a," a coalition official, who declined to be identified, told AFP.

Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya quoted a coalition statement as saying the coalition had launched an operation aimed at “neutralising the ability of the Al Houthi militia to carry out acts of aggression.”

It urged civilians to avoid those target areas, and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that armed drones hit two oil pumping stations in the kingdom but did not disrupt output or exports. The Al Houthis said they were responsible.

The United Arab Emirates said on Wednesday that the Western-backed coalition, of which it is a main member, would “retaliate hard” for any Al Houthi attacks on coalition targets.

The Sana’a air strikes and escalating violence in Yemen’s Hodeida 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 against Al Houthis to try to restore the internationally-recognised government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi that was ousted from power in Sana’a.