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Saudi-led coalition attacks drone storage caves in Yemen's capital: Report

Raids part of operation launched in January to destroy Houthi drone capabilities; no immediate reports of casualties
Gunmen loyal to Houthis protest against air strikes by Saudi-led coalition during a gathering in Sanaa last week (AFP)

The Saudi-led military coalition mounted raids on sites of the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen's capital Sanaa, Saudi news agency SPA said on Saturday.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the raids targeted two caves used by Houthi forces to store drones, SPA reported. Earlier, Al-Arabiya TV reported raids on Houthi camps in Sanaa, including the Al-Dailami air base.

The raids are part of an operation launched in January to destroy the Houthis' drone capabilities, Malki said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Late Friday night, Houthi forces shot down a coalition drone, the rebel-aligned Yemen Press Agency reported.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis reached a ceasefire and troop pullout deal for Hodeidah, the main entry point for most of Yemen's imports and aid, at talks in Sweden in December. The pact was the first big breakthrough in efforts to end Yemen's four-year war.

Grain silos in the Red Sea port city were inaccessible to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) from September to February, just as eight million Yemenis were being pushed to the brink of famine.

The United Nations confirmed to Middle East Eye earlier this week that much of the vital grain stored in Yemen’s Hodeidah is fit to eat, a lifeline for starving Yemenis.

"WFP carried out a full assessment of the condition of the wheat and laboratory tests confirmed it was infested with insects, which has resulted in some hollow grains,” one of the agency’s spokespeople, who preferred not to be named, told MEE.

“The wheat needs to be fumigated before it can be milled into flour. We anticipate the flour yield will be slightly lower than normal due to the hollow grains that will be sifted out during the milling process.”

WFP is awaiting clearance from local authorities to begin fumigating the wheat and milling it to make it fit for consumption.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, which pits the Houthis against other Yemeni factions backed by the Saudi-led coalition and loyal to the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Houthis ousted Hadi's government from power in Sanaa in late 2014.