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Yemen: Saudi Arabia bombs Sanaa airport after telling civilians to evacuate

The Saudi-led coalition says it hit 'legitimate military targets' in the capital's airport
Saudi Arabia and its allies, namely the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015.
Saudi Arabia and its allies, namely the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015 (AFP/File photo)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on Monday said it carried out air strikes on the international airport of the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa after asking civilians to immediately evacuate, state media reported.

The coalition called on the workers of international and humanitarian organisations in the airport to immediately evacuate, as it had taken "legal measures to deal with the threat operationally", state media said.

"The operation comes in response to threats and the use of the airport's facilities to launch cross-border attacks," it said.

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The coalition said it lifted the protection off specific sites in the airport and carried out strikes on "legitimate military targets" in it.

Monday's strikes come a day after the Saudi-led coalition said it destroyed a drone launched from the Yemeni airport and aimed at civilians at Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah airport in Jizan, near the border with Yemen.

The coalition also said on Sunday that it conducted a military operation in Sanaa to destroy workshops and warehouses for drones and other weapons, urging civilians to avoid the area.

Saudi coalition air strikes

Saudi Arabia and its allies, namely the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthi movement ousted the internationally-recognised government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi from Sanaa. The coalition immediately began a bombing campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Since the conflict began, Houthi forces have sent drones and fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi-led coalition has conducted air strikes inside Yemen.

A UN Development Programme (UNDP) report last month said the war will have claimed 377,000 lives by the end of the year, through both direct and indirect impacts.

For months, the two sides have been fiercely fighting around the city of Marib, east of Sanaa, where Houthi forces are looking to take over one of the Yemeni government's last strongholds in the country.

Still, while the Houthis have made major advances during the past couple of months, critical recent Saudi-led air strikes have so far managed to stem the Houthi advance and given hope to pro-government forces.

The situation in Yemen has been referred to by the United Nations as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with the death toll of the war to reach an estimated 377,000 by the end of 2021, according to a recent report from the UNDP.

Rights groups and humanitarian organisations have meanwhile called on the UN to create a new independent panel that collects evidence of possible war crimes committed by all parties in Yemen's conflict, after Saudi Arabia reportedly lobbied to shut down the previous investigation.

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