Saudi-led coalition launches operation against Yemen's Houthis



Royal Saudi Air Force Col. Turki al-Maliki gives a press conference at the Armed Forces Officers club in Riyadh July 2nd, alongside showcased alleged Iranian weapons seized by Saudi forces from Yemen's Houthis. [Fayez Nureldine/AFP]

The Saudi-led military coalition Thursday (July 2nd) confirmed it has launched a major operation against Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) and warned it would target the militia leadership following missile and drone attacks on the kingdom.

Residents of Houthi-held Sanaa told AFP they heard loud explosions and saw plumes of smoke Wednesday after at least a dozen airstrikes on the international airport, which is close to an air force base.

The Houthis said on their Al-Masirah television that the coalition had launched 57 airstrikes on Sanaa and their northern stronghold of Saada.

"The operation came in response to the threat of the Houthi militia after they launched ballistic missiles as well as drones from the occupied capital Sanaa, as well as Saada," coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh.

"The terrorist leaders of the Houthi militia... will be pursued and held accountable. Targeting civilians and civilian facilities is a red line."

The coalition strike effectively ends a unilateral ceasefire it declared in April, announced as part of efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the coalition said it had intercepted and destroyed drones and ballistic missiles launched into the kingdom by the Houthis, including one fired towards Riyadh.

At the venue of al-Maliki's press conference, Saudi officials displayed remnants of intercepted missiles and drones they said were supplied by Iran to the Houthis.

Iran denies arming the Houthis.

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