Riyadh: A Saudi-led military coalition mounted air strikes on Yemen s Huthi-controlled capital Sanaa on Sunday after intercepting a flurry of drones and missiles launched by the Iran-backed rebels, state media reported.
Although the United States once again called for an end to hostilities, this exchange marked a new escalation in the six-year conflict between the coalition-backed government of Yemen and the Huthi insurgents.
The coalition raids triggered huge explosions that sent plumes of smoke rising in the sky over Sanaa, according to AFP correspondents on the ground. The rebels reported seven air strikes on the city.
“The military operation targets Huthi military capabilities in Sanaa and a number of other provinces,” the coalition was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency.
That came after the coalition said it had intercepted a total of 12 drones and two ballistic missiles launched by the rebels on Sunday, a sharp uptick in cross-border attacks on the kingdom.
The coalition said the drones were aimed at “civilian” targets in Saudi Arabia, SPA reported, without specifying the locations.
The coalition added that the two intercepted missiles were aimed at the southern city of Jizan, but did not specify whether there were casualties or damage.
The insurgents did not immediately claim responsibility for the cross-border attack, but they have intensified their attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent weeks, and they have escalated their offensive in Yemen to seize the government’s last northern fortress in Malibu.
In a statement after its strikes, the coalition said that targeting civilians in the kingdom was a “red line”, adding that the Huthis actions “will not lead to an imposition of a political settlement”.
The latest escalation comes as Washington resumes efforts for a resolution to the grinding conflict, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions, according to international organisations.