Coalition strikes Yemen in response to Al Houthi missile attack

Spokesman defends strike in Sa’ada saying it was targeting elements responsible for the attack on Jizan

Dubai: The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen carried out an air strike in the northern Yemen province of Sa’ada on Thursday in retaliation for an Al Houthi missile strike on Saudi Arabia.

Fragments from the Al Houthi-launched missile killed one civilian and wounded 11 in the southern Saudi province of Jizan, Saudi state media confirmed on Thursday.

The kingdom’s air defense forces had intercepted the missile, Saudi state news channel Al Ekhbariya reported late Wednesday.

The official Saudi-led coalition spokesman, Colonel Turki Al Maliki, defended the coalition strike as a “legitimate military action to target elements that planned and carried out the targeting of civilians” in Saudi Arabia.

He said the strike was conducted in accordance to international law.

“The Coalition will take all necessary measures against the criminal acts of the terrorist Iranian-Houthi militia, such as recruiting child soldiers, throwing them in battlefields and using them as tools and covers to their terrorist acts,” he stressed.

He added that Al Houthi leaders and soldiers would be held responsible for launching ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia and targeting civilians.

Al Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into the kingdom in recent months, part of a three-year-old conflict widely seen as a proxy battle between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Most have been intercepted by the Saudi military.

The coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015 after an Al Houthi coup ousted the internationally-recognised government.

Since then, Yemeni forces have been able to regain 85 per cent of the country but still main population centres remain under Al Houthi control.

The latest coalition strike comes amid a general pause in an offensive to liberate the Al Houthi-held city of Hodeida on the Red Sea coast.

The Yemeni government accuses Iran of using the port to smuggling in weapons to sustain Al Houthi military efforts, a claim that has been backed by the US and the UN.

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