SANAA (Reuters) – The Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen said on Sunday it was carrying out air strikes against Houthi military targets in Sanaa and other territories after the group launched armed drones towards Saudi Arabia.
The coalition, which says it destroyed 10 armed drones, said in a statement in Saudi state media that “civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom are a red line”.
The coalition did not specify a location in the kingdom. The US consulate in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah issued a warning, citing reports of alleged attacks and explosions on Sunday near Jeddah and the southern city of Khamis Mushait.
In Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, a Reuters eyewitness reported several air strikes. Plumes of black smoke can be seen around the military compound near Sanaa University. Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said coalition warplanes bombed al-Nahda and Attan districts.
The Houthis, who have been battling the coalition since meddling in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, have recently stepped up cross-border missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Fighting has also intensified in Yemen in the Marib and Taiz regions.
The escalation comes as the United States and United Nations step up diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire to pave the way for the resumption of UN-sponsored political talks to end the conflict, which is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia. Iran.
Saudi state media on Sunday quoted the coalition as saying the Houthis were getting bolder after the new US government withdrew Washington’s designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization in February.
Last week, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Houthi military leaders after the movement increased attacks on Saudi cities and its offensive in Marib.
The Houthis, who ousted the internationally recognized government from power in Sanaa in late 2014, deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.
The war, in a years of military stalemate, has killed tens of thousands of people and has pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation.
The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said on Friday that the Al-Thawra hospital in Taiz was treating 28 people injured in violent clashes since Wednesday and that the hospital itself was hit by gunfire, injuring three people, including a 12-year-old boy. .
In Marib, hundreds of fighters from both sides have died.
Reporting by Yemeni team Reuter and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Edited by Louise Heavens and Frances Kerry
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