Saudi-led Coalition Strikes Houthi Military Targets in Yemen, Local Media Reports

Attack comes day after Saudi-led coalition vowed to respond to an Iran-backed Houthi strike on a Saudi airport that injured 26

Supporters of the Houthi movement take part in a protest marking Jerusalem Day, Sanaa, Yemen May 31, 2019.
\ MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI/ REUTERS

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen carried out air strikes on Thursday around the capital Sanaa, held by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, residents and Houthi media said.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim alliance, which had vowed to respond to a missile attack on a Saudi civilian airport a day earlier, said it had destroyed Houthi military assets.

A coalition statement said the operation targeted "foreign experts from terrorist organisations working with the Houthis" but did not identify their nationality or say whether they had been hit.

Coalition leaders Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates accuse Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah of supporting the Houthis, a charge all three deny.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for Wednesday's missile attack on Abha regional airport in southern Saudi Arabia, which wounded 26 people, as well as an armed drone strike last month on two Saudi oil pumping stations.

Debris on the tarmac of Abha Regional Airport after an attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels in Abha, Saudi Arabia, June 12, 2019.
Untitled,AP

"The targets that were destroyed in Yemen include missile depots, weapons and manufacturing plants," said a coalition statement carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

The Houthi-run Masirah TV said coalition airplanes bombed three sites, including military targets belonging to Houthi forces, on the outskirts of Sanaa. Residents told Reuters the strikes had targeted military camps west and north of the city.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government that was driven out of Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.

The Houthis have stepped up missile and drone attacks against Saudi cities as tensions have risen between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied with the United States.

Tehran and Washington have engaged in a war of words since the United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran and increased its military presence in the Gulf.

The Yemen conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they took up arms against corruption.