The Saudi-led coalition on Saturday launched a “full-scale” assault on Yemen after a projectile killed two people in the kingdom, the first of those deaths in three years blamed on Houthi-backed rebels. Iran.
A retaliatory coalition airstrike against Yemen killed three people and injured six others in Ajama, a town northwest of the Houthi capital Sana’a, Yemeni doctors said.
Yemen has been ravaged by civil war since 2014 between the internationally recognized government supported by the Saudi-led military coalition against the Houthis who control much of the north.
Tens of thousands of people have since been killed in what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Saudi Civil Defense said two people, one Saudi and the other Yemeni, were killed and seven others injured in the projectile attack on Jazan, an area in the kingdom’s south bordering Yemen.
“A military projectile fell on a commercial store on the main street, killing two,” he said in a statement, adding that six Saudis and a Bangladeshi national were injured.
The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition said shortly after that it was “preparing for a full-scale military operation.”
He later responded with an airstrike in which “three civilians including a child and a woman were killed, and six others were injured,” Yemeni doctors told AFP.
The coalition said it would hold a press conference later on Saturday to address the latest developments.
Yemen’s Huthis regularly launch missiles and drones into neighboring Saudi Arabia, targeting its airports and oil infrastructure.
But the latest was the first in more than three years to claim lives in the kingdom, which recorded its first death from a Huthi missile attack when a missile hit Riyadh in 2018.
It also comes as fighting between the two sides escalates, with the coalition stepping up airstrikes on Sana’a.
UN agency “short of funds” to feed Yemenis Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and its ally the United States have long accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with sophisticated weapons, a charge denied by the Islamic republic dominated by the Shiites.
The US Navy said this week it seized 1,400 AK-47 rifles and ammunition from a fishing boat it said was smuggling weapons from Iran to the Houthis, who belong to Yemen’s Zaïdi Shiite minority. .
“The stateless vessel was believed to have originated from Iran and had transited through international waters along a route historically used for smuggling arms illegally to the Houthis in Yemen,” he said.
On Thursday – a day after the coalition targeted a Huthi military camp in Sana’a – the military alliance said it shot down a bomb-laden drone near the southern Abha airport, causing debris to fall nearby but no casualties.
And earlier this week, it targeted Sana’a Airport, whose operations have largely ceased due to a Saudi-led blockade since August 2016, with exemptions for aid flights.
The World Food Program said it was “forced” to cut aid to Yemen due to lack of funds, and warned of increasing hunger in the country.
“From January, eight million will receive a reduced food ration, while five million immediately at risk of collapsing into conditions of famine will remain on a full ration,” the UN agency said in a statement, adding that it “was lacking of funds “. .
The UN estimates that the war in Yemen will have killed 377,000 people by the end of the year, from both direct and indirect impacts.
More than 80 percent of Yemen’s population of around 30 million is in need of humanitarian assistance in what the UN considers the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
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