Saudi air force strikes Houthi ballistic missile sites in Sanaa

Opposing sides in the seven-year conflict have launched major offensives

epa07097857 Supporters of the Houthi rebels ride on a truck after taking part in a military parade to mobilize more fighters into the intensifying battlefront of Hodeidah, in Sana’a, Yemen, 16 October 2018. According to reports, the Houthi rebels have mobilized and recruited hundreds of tribal fighters to confront the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces in the key port city of Hodeidah where the fighting intensified over the past two months.  EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
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Saudi Arabia's air force has struck ballistic missile sites in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

It said the air strikes had been conducted against “legitimate military targets” in Sanaa, and that one missile site of “high-value” had been destroyed.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed rebel group warned civilians to stay away from the attack sites.

The coalition said it had taken measures to spare civilians. It said Houthis sheltering in “secret positions” had used hospitals, organisations and civilians as human shields, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The kingdom's air force has been engaged in a major campaign in support of forces loyal to the internationally recognised Yemeni government as fighting intensifies on several fronts in the conflict.

On Sunday, a major offensive by government-aligned forces, including the Al Amalikah brigades, cut off Houthi supply lines between Taez, Yemen's third-largest city, and the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The offensive represents a large-scale counter attack against Houthi forces who made gains in the oil-rich northern city of Marib after one of the war’s biggest escalations in February.

Residents told Reuters they heard large explosions across the city and that at least two military targets had been struck. The Houthis acknowledged that sites had been struck in the northern part of Sanaa.

The strikes come as the Houthis escalate attacks using drones and ballistic missiles aimed at population centres and vital energy infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, with a number of attacks being launched at the weekend.

The coalition said its raids had destroyed a high-value ballistic missile target.

The war in Yemen is now entering its seventh year, despite multiple attempts at a negotiated settlement. Vital ports such as Hodeidah remain under Houthi control, a situation which has pushed the country deeper into crisis.

The UN estimates about 2.3 million children are suffering from malnutrition, while as many as half of the population lack access to clean drinking water.

Updated: November 23, 2021, 12:02 PM