Middle East

Saudi-led alliance launches airstrikes on Yemen’s rebel capital

The Saudi-led coalition on Saturday unleashed airstrikes on rebel positions in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, Saudi state television reported early on Saturday.

Residents described hearing powerful explosions as a result of an aerial bombardment that targeted rebel military camps in several parts of the city. Flames were seen rising from the struck facilities.

There was no immediate word on casualties.

Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Press Agency cited coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki as saying that the airstrikes targeted five rebel air defense sites and a ballistic missile depot.

“The alliance command is committed to preventing the terrorist Huthi militia and other terrorist organizations from having access to such military capabilities.”

Yemen has been at war since 2014, when Iran-backed Huthi rebels took over Sanaa.

The conflict intensified in March 2015, when the Huthis first advanced on the southern city of Aden. That prompted Saudi Arabia and Sunni allies to start an air campaign against the Shiite group and to restore the internationally recognized government to power.

Extremist groups have also taken advantage of the feud to expand their influence in the poor country.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of whom are civilians, aid agencies say. Some 3.3 million people have been forced from their homes.

The warring parties met last week to discuss the stalled truce agreement for the contested port city of Hodeida.

The deal was brokered in December in Sweden but has been interrupted by clashes.

mm/jlw (dpa, Reuters)


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