CAIRO - Saudi-coalition spokesman Col. Turki al Maliki says that coalition fighter jets took out at least five Houthi air defense sites around the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, early Saturday. Amateur video showed a number of explosions rocking Sanaa, overnight.
Amateur video broadcast by Arab media showed a series of explosions around the Yemeni capital Sana'a, early Saturday, followed by loud percussive explosions.
Saudi-owned media, quoting coalition spokesman Turki al Maliki, indicated that at least five Houthi air defense sites were bombed by Saudi warplanes. Maliki claimed that a number of Houthi ballistic missiles were destroyed in the air attacks.
The Saudi-owned Asharqalawsat newspaper quoted Maliki as saying the "operation [overnight] targeted the Houthis air defense capabilities, as well as their ability to launch aggressive attacks." Maliki went on to say the coalition raids "conformed with international human rights law."
Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that he doesn't think the Saudi air raids are going to have much effect on the ongoing war or the Houthis military capabilities:
"This is not the first time the Saudis announced launching attacks on missile sites in Yemen," he said. "It happened in the past and it's highly unlikely that such attacks are going to have any tangible effects on the Houthi war effort."
Khashan stressed that most of the Houthis' attacks on Saudi territory in recent weeks have been launched "using drones, rather than by firing ballistic missiles."
The Houthis military spokesman, Gen. Yahya Saree, claimed Saturday that his group had launched a retaliatory drone attack Saturday, which "destroyed several radar [sites] and other military equipment at the King Khaled airbase in southern Saudi Arabia." Saudi-owned al Arabiya TV countered that the drone was shot down near Abha and "hit no targets."
The Saudi air attacks on Houthi missile sites come one day after unknown drones struck a Shi'ite militia camp that allegedly contained Iranian ballistic missiles in the north of Iraq. Some Iraqi analysts accused Saudi Arabia of the attack, but it was not immediately clear who was responsible. A number of Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces and Lebanese Hezbollah advisers allegedly were killed or wounded in the raid.