Middle East

Saudi-led coalition launches anti-Houthi offensive

Coalition's military operation said to be aimed at destroying 'ballistic threat' of Yemen's Houthi rebels

30.03.2020
Saudi-led coalition launches anti-Houthi offensive

ISTANBUL

The Saudi-led Arab coalition on Monday launched a "qualitative military operation" to destroy military targets of the Houthi rebel group.

"The military operation comes to neutralize and destroy the ballistic [missile] threat and the qualitative capabilities that threaten the lives of civilians," the coalition said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The coalition asserted it was taking preventive measures to protect collateral damage to civilians.

On Sunday, Houthi rebels announced they were launching a major operation in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and drones, targeting a number of sensitive areas in Riyadh, Jizan, Najran, and Asir.

The escalation come after the Houthis welcomed a call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for humanitarian cease-fires around the world to help the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital of Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

*Bassel Ibrahim contributed to this report from Ankara

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