Vídeo: Saudi Arabia Leads Airstrikes Against Yemen’s Houthi Rebels
Saudi warplanes bombed key military installations in Yemen on Thursday while leading an offensive involving Gulf Arab allies and others in the region in support of internationally backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Riyadh, March 26, 2015.- The airstrikes targeted sites around the main airport in the capital, Sana’a and damaged homes in the area.
Riyadh’s rival Iran denounced the assault on the Houthi militia group, which it backs, and made clear the kingdom’s deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi’ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East.
But a senior Iranian official ruled out military intervention.
Houthi health officials say at least 18 people were killed and 24 others wounded in the Saudi airstrikes.
A VOA freelancer, Jacfar Kukay, said unconfirmed reports say at least three Houthi leaders were among those killed or wounded. Kukay said local media reported Houthi leader Mohamed Ali al-Houthi was injured after his home was hit, but his spokesman denied the report.
The Arab League pledged full support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
The campaign of airstrikes began late Wednesday with the targeting of military installations that had been seized by the Houthis as they continued their weeks long push through the southern part of the country. The Houthis have been closing in on the main southern city of Aden.
Jordan, Egypt and Sudan confirmed their forces were taking part in the operation, while Pakistan’s foreign office said it is considering a request from Saudi Arabia to send troops.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency said Morocco had pledged to join as well, while the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya network said Saudi Arabia itself was committing 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes.
Hadi’s location unknown
With the bombings ongoing Thursday, forces loyal to President Hadi recaptured Aden’s international airport. Hadi’s location was not publicly known, after he fled the presidential complex in Aden on Wednesday as Houthi forces closed in on the city.
Saudi Arabia also suspended flights at airports near the country’s southern border with Yemen.
The Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters late Wednesday that the Saudis will do “anything necessary” to protect the people of Yemen and its “legitimate government.”
US logistical, intelligence support
The White House said the United States is coordinating with the Saudi-led military coalition and providing “logistical and intelligence support,” but not taking direct military action.
“We strongly urge the Houthis to halt immediately their destabilizing military actions and return to negotiations as part of the political dialogue,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said in a statement. “The international community has spoken clearly through the U.N. Security Council and in other fora that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition — long sought by the Yemeni people — can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus government among all of the parties.”
Yemen has sunk into violence and chaos since a popular uprising ousted longtime strongman President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012.