Saudi-led coalition carries out fresh air strikes against Iran-aligned group amid escalating fighting in Yemen’s Marib.
The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck military targets belonging to the Iran-aligned movement in the capital, Sanaa, in the early hours of Sunday, residents said.
The raids come after the Houthis claimed responsibility for drone attacks on an oil refinery in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Friday, which caused a fire that was brought under control.
On Saturday, the coalition said it intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone launched towards the southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait.
Residents in Sanaa told Reuters news agency that coalition warplanes bombed areas housing Houthi military camps in southern Sanaa and a military manufacturing site in the north of the city.
Houthi-run Al Masirah television also reported coalition air strikes on the capital, including on Sanaa airport.
The rebels have stepped up attacks inside Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, in recent weeks. Saudi Arabia says it intercepts most of the drones and missiles that the Houthis launch at airports, air bases and energy infrastructure, but some do inflict damage.
The Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis since March 2015, months after the group seized Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. The war has ground into a deadlock since then, with Saudi Arabia facing international criticism for its indiscriminate air strikes.
The United Nations has described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster with mass hunger, disease and poverty, largely caused by the war. The conflict has killed about 130,000 people – including more than 12,000 civilians.
In renewed diplomatic efforts to end the war, the United Nations and United States have urged the Houthis – who are also pressing an offensive against the government-held city of Marib in Yemen – to turn to negotiations rather than military escalation.
Analysts say the Houthi push into Marib – which until recently been relatively peaceful and stable because of well-protected oilfields nearby – threatens to ignite more fighting elsewhere in Yemen.
Meanwhile, government-allied forces have ramped up attacks in other areas recently in an apparent attempt to force the Houthis to spread out their resources and make them more vulnerable.