Yemen Houthi air defences knocked out in coalition air strikes

Strikes come as fighting rages in Marib, the last government-held province in Yemen's north

Smoke billows during clashes between forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebel fighters in Yemen's northeastern province of Marib on March 5, 2021.  / AFP / -

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on Wednesday destroyed a "hostile aerial target", belonging to the Iran-aligned Houthi forces in Yemen's Marib city, Saudi state TV reported.

The Saudi state news agency posted a video on Twitter saying the coalition "destroyed an enemy air defence system type Sam-6, that belongs to the Houthis.".

The coalition also confirmed its support for the operations by the Yemeni national army and the tribes in Marib to advance and protect civilians.

The Houthis, who control Yemen’s most populous areas and have been battling the coalition since it intervened in the civil war in March 2015, recently pushed towards the gas-rich region of Marib, aiming to take the government’s last stronghold in the north.

The Iran-aligned group also stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks into Saudi Arabia.

The escalation comes as the United States and the United Nations increase diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire to pave the way for a resumption of UN-sponsored talks to end the conflict.

Two residents told Reuters that a missile strike targeted a military base on the outskirts of Marib on Wednesday, and that ambulances could be heard rushing to the scene.

The base includes the building of the ministry of defence, they said.

Meanwhile, Saudi ambassador to the United States Princess Reema bint Bandar emphasised that the kingdom is committed to ending the war in Yemen through a political solution.

In a statement about peace efforts in Yemen and the escalation of attacks against the kingdom. Princess Reema said that the Houthis continue to ignore the suffering of Yemenis by not taking part in a serious dialogue to end the crisis, and that their recent escalation of attacks in the Yemeni province of Marib jeopardised the lives of more than a million internally displaced people in the province.