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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 18 August 2018

Arab Coalition destroys Houthi missile launch sites in Yemen

The alliance hits targets in rebel-held Saada

Yemeni government forces target Houthi positions on the outskirts of the port city of Hodeidah, on July 26, 2018. EPA
Yemeni government forces target Houthi positions on the outskirts of the port city of Hodeidah, on July 26, 2018. EPA

The Arab Coalition in Yemen destroyed sites used by Houthi rebels to launch missiles towards Saudi Arabia.

The coalition, which includes the kingdom and the UAE, announced "destruction over the past 24 hours of ballistic missile [launch] sites run by the Houthi militias in Saada", a northern Yemeni province bordering Saudi Arabia and controlled by the rebels.

Saudi Arabia's Al Ekhbariya TV aired a 49-second clip showing black and white aerial footage of the coalition strike on Saada.

The Saudi-led alliance intervened in the Yemen war in March 2015 at the request of the internationally-recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, to restore its power and push back the Houthis after they took control of the capital Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia, including its capital Riyadh, has increasingly been the target of missiles launched by the Houthis in northern Yemen.

The kingdom's air defence forces say they intercepted all missiles, and only one casualty has been reported.

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Saudi Arabia, the biggest crude exporter in the world, last week announced it had temporarily suspended oil shipments through the Bab Al Mandab Strait after a Houthi missile attack on an Aramco vessel.

The strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea and is a crucial passage for oil and trade.

"The coalition will not allow the Houthi militias to build military capabilities that threaten regional waters," the coalition said.

Up to 10,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine, according to the UN.

Iran has been smuggling arms to the Houthis through Yemen’s ports, namely the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.

On June 13, Yemeni forces launched an offensive to retake Hodeidah but later that month paused the assault to give UN-led peace talks a chance.

Rebel-held Hodeidah is the entry point for 70 per cent of imports in a country where eight million people face famine.

Pro-government forces and the coalition say the Houthis must unconditionally and fully withdraw from the port city of Hodeidah, while the rebels have so far only agreed to shared control of the city with UN troops.

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