Airbase hit in rebel-held Yemen capital
RIYADH — A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said yesterday it attacked an airbase in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, a day after the Saudi-backed government offered to restart peace talks with the insurgents.
“This operation includes targeting of ballistic-missile launch and storage locations... bomb-making and assembly workshops and their support locations in AlDailami Airbase in Sanaa,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said in a statement.
He added that the adjoining Sanaa international airport was still open to air traffic from the United Nations and other relief agencies.
Calling the attacked structures “legitimate military targets”, Malki said he would provide “evidence” of violations by the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels later yesterday.
The development comes a day after the Yemeni government said it welcomed “all efforts to restore peace” following calls by key US officials and the UN’s envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for warring parties to come to the table “within a month”.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called for an end to the Yemen war, including air strikes by the coalition.
Washington, a close Saudi ally, backs coalition forces by refuelling their jets and selling them weapons.
Saudi Arabia’s regional role has come under scrutiny after the killing in its Istanbul consulate last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former royal court insider-turned-critic and a columnist for the Washington Post.
Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war in 2015 to bolster Yemen’s internationally recognised President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Huthis took over Sanaa.
Since the intervention, nearly 10,000 civilians have been killed, according to the World Health Organisation.
Other rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher. — AFP
Yemeni fighters loyal to the Shiite Huthi rebels ride on military vehicles during a parade in the capital Sanaa on October 16, 2018. — AFP/VNA Photo