By Arab News
By Lojien Ben Gassem
The Arab coalition on Sunday said the Houthi militia are in possession of Iranian-made drones “Shahed 129” and are using residential areas to hide the aircraft.
On Saturday night, the Arab coalition destroyed seven Houthi drone facilities in Sanaa in an airstrike.
Addressing a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the attack followed an extensive intelligence-gathering operation that monitored movements of the Houthi militia and helped identify the Iranian-backed group’s operational and logistical infrastructure.
Targets included drone storage areas, manufacturing and repair workshops, and launch platforms, as well as training facilities for terrorist operations, he said.
He added: “We attacked a helicopter platform belonging to the Houthi militia in an area between Sanaa and Saada.”
Al-Maliki confirmed that Iran had provided the Houthi militia with “Ababil-T drones.”
Al-Maliki said the military strike was carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law. The coalition’s Joint Forces Command took all necessary precautions to protect civilians and avoid collateral damage, he added.
Al-Maliki reaffirmed the commitment of the coalition’s Joint Forces Command to international humanitarian law in all military operations, and said the coalition would continue to deny Houthi militia and terrorist groups access to capabilities that threaten regional and international security.
He said the Houthis have used drones to carry out a number of attacks and are using Sanaa airport for military purposes.
He also showed videos and pictures of Saturday’s operations against the militia group in Sanaa, models of aircraft used by the Houthis in their attacks and the bombing of a cave used by the Iran-backed terrorist group as a command center in Sanaa.
20 Houthis killed
More than 20 Houthis were killed in military operations carried out by the Yemeni army backed by the coalition’s air support in Taiz.
A Yemeni military source said the Arab coalition conducted airstrikes killing five Houthis, injuring others. A vehicle laden with ammunition was also destroyed in the joint operation.
“Nine more militants were killed by the Yemeni army’s artillery shelling, which targeted a meeting held by the militia at a farm, the source added. He confirmed that Houthi commanders were among those killed.
“The Yemeni army also targeted reinforcements of the militia near Al-Rawd School killing and injuring a number of insurgents.”
“Multiple infiltration attempts were thwarted by the Yemeni armed forces west of the city, while two Houthis were killed in a failed infiltration attempt targeting Al-Tashrifat military camp in eastern Taiz,” the source said.
The airstrikes late Saturday were the first by the coalition in Sanaa since a deal reached last month between coalition-backed government and the Houthis, which have been at war since 2014.
The deal provided for a cease-fire and a withdrawal of rival forces from the contested port city of Hodeidah on the Red Sea as well as an exchange of prisoners, but the implementation has run into difficulties.
Earlier this month, a bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthis targeted a military parade near the government-held city of Aden on the Arabian Sea, killing at least seven people, including the commander of military intelligence.