A Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a barrage of airstrikes on the capital and a strategic Red Sea city, officials said on Saturday. At least eight people were killed.
The overnight airstrikes on Sanaa and Hodeida both held by the Houthis came a day after the rebels attacked an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jeddah, their highest-profile assault yet on the kingdom.
Brig Gen Turki al-Malki, a spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, said the strikes targeted sources of threat to Saudi Arabia, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency or SPA.
He said the coalition intercepted and destroyed two explosives-laden drones early on Saturday. He said the drones were launched from Houthi-held civilian oil facilities in Hodeida, urging civilians to stay away from oil facilities in the city.
Footage circulated online showed flames and plumes of smoke over Sanaa and Hodeida.
Associated Press journalists in the Yemeni capital heard loud explosions that rattled residential buildings there.
The Houthis said the coalition airstrikes hit a power plant, a fuel supply station and the state-run social insurance office in the capital.
A Houthi media office claimed an airstrike hit houses for guards of the social insurance office in Sanaa’s Haddah neighbourhood, killing at least eight people and wounding four others, including women and children. The office shared images it said were from the aftermath of the airstrike. It showed wreckage in the courtyard of a social insurance office with the shattered windows of a nearby multiple-story building.
Hamoud Abbad, a local official with the Houthis in Sanaa, said the facility is located close to a building used by the UN agencies in the capital. He claimed that UN vehicles were seen leaving the area prior the airstrikes. INP