Coalition hits Houthi drone capabilities

Civilians inspect the damage at a factory after a reported airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on Sunday. — AFP

RIYADH – Arab coalition planes launched air strikes on Houthi-held bases in order to target the militants’ drone capabilities during an operation in Sanaa, Col. Turki Al-Malki, the official spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen stated.

Al-Malki said: “The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition conducted on Saturday at (2245) an advanced targeting operation to destroy multiple legitimate military targets that comprise of UAV capabilities in (7) military support facilities throughout Sanaa.”

The Coalition fighting to support the legitimate Yemeni government said it took necessary measures to protect civilians during the operation in Sanaa and has asked them to stay away from the locations where militant sites were being bombed.

Col. Al-Malki explained that the targeting operation followed a precision intelligence operation conducted over a long period of time, which covered monitoring and surveillance of Houthi militia activities, its terrorist militants’ movements with regards to this network to gain further knowledge of the system components and infrastructure operational and logistical connection, the communication system, and whereabouts of foreign experts.

He indicated that the destroyed targets include: UAV storage facilities, manufacturing and spare parts workshops, installation and bomb-equipping workshops, testing and launch-pad preparation locations and terrorist-activity training facilities.

The escalation in fighting, which follows a deadly Houthi drone attack last week on a Yemeni government military parade, augurs badly for a second round of UN-sponsored talks this month aimed at ending the war.

The United Nations is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal agreement in the port city of Hodeida, the main entry point for most of Yemen's imports and aid.

In the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts, a deal was reached in talks in Sweden last month to avert a full-scale assault on the port. The truce has largely held in Hodeida.

Meanwhile, an explosion killed five demining specialists in war-torn Yemen's central province of Maarib on Sunday, security and medical sources said.

A pro-government security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the five were foreign experts working on the Saudi-backed Masam landmine clearance project.

The official said the blast occurred as landmines were being transported to be destroyed. A medic at a Maarib hospital confirmed five bodies were brought to the hospital, adding that a number of other people were injured in the incident.

Yemen is a signatory to the Mine Ban Treaty, an international pact which came into force in 1999 and aims to eliminate landmines and clear up vast tracts of affected land.

The Masam landmine clearance project was launched in June 2018 by Saudi Arabia's King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief). SPA/Agencies