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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition strikes telecommunications compound in Sanaa

Saudi jet hit the compound several times on Monday, claiming Houthi rebels used it to launch 'hostile operations'
A journalist photographs the destroyed telecommunication ministry following overnight air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition on Sanaa, on 14 February 2022 (AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has launched a series of air strikes against a telecommunications compound in the capital Sanaa, claiming the Houthi rebels used it to launch "hostile operations".

"We have destroyed a communication system used to operate drone control stations," the coalition was quoted as saying by the official Saudi news agency SPA, earlier on Monday.

"The Houthis are using the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology in Sanaa for hostile operations."

Residents and the Houthi-run Al Masirah television channel later reported another attack on the Sanaa compound, which also houses the TeleYemen telecoms company building, on Monday evening.

Sanaa-based Telecommunications Minister Misfer al-Numair denied that the facilities were being used for military purposes.

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The coalition, battling the Houthis for nearly seven years, said it asked civilians in ministries to evacuate before the operation carried out in response to last week's drone attack on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport, which injured 12 people.

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A TeleYemen official told Reuters that employees had been evacuated. Internet and phone services were working, residents said.

An AFP correspondent in Sanaa confirmed coalition air strikes had targeted several areas of the capital around the ministry.

It was not immediately possible to determine if there were any casualties.

It was the first time the coalition has targeted a civilian ministry, having so far only attacked the defence ministry.

Houthi forces have frequently fired drones and missiles at Saudi cities, and recently expanded attacks to coalition member the United Arab Emirates.

The alliance has retaliated with air strikes inside Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Riyadh- and western-backed government from Sanaa.

The movement says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

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