Coalition in Yemen strikes Sanaa, casualties reported

SANAA: The military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Ansar Allah-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations. The Sanaa strikes targeted nine military sites in and around the city, residents said.
Rubble filled a populated street lined by mud-brick houses, a Reuters journalist on the scene said. A crowd of men lifted the body of a women, wrapped in a white shroud, into an ambulance.
The Ansar Allah-run Masirah TV channel quoted the Ansar Allah health ministry as saying six civilians, including four children, had been killed and 52 wounded, including two Russian women working in the health sector. A coalition spokesman did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.
A coalition statement carried by Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, said the alliance struck military bases and facilities and weapons storage sites with the aim of “neutralising the ability of the Ansar Allah militia to carry out acts of aggression”.
“The sorties achieved its goals with full precision,” the coalition said. It had urged civilians to avoid those targets.
One resident reported a strike near a densely-populated district, where flames and clouds of smoke could be seen. A car was half-buried under rubble and twisted metal on a street lined with bystanders.
“There was an air strike near us, in the middle of an area packed with residents between Hael and Raqas (streets),” Abdulrazaq Mohammed said. “The explosion was so strong that stones were flying. This is the first time our house shakes so much.”
Sanaa has been held by the Ansar Allah movement since it ousted the internationally recognised government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from power there in late 2014. The coalition has previously targeted suspected drone and missile storage sites in the city.
Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister on Thursday accused Iran of ordering Tuesday’s armed drone attack on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom.
“The terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran and carried out by the Ansar Allah, are tightening the noose around the ongoing political efforts,” Prince Khalid bin Salman tweeted.
The Ansar Allah said they were responsible for the attack, which did not disrupt oil output or exports. The group denies being a puppet of Tehran or receiving arms from Iran, and says its revolution is against corruption.
The head of the Ansar Allah Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al Houthi, said Iran did not direct the strike and that the movement manufactures its drones “locally”. Tehran also denies providing the group with arms.
“We are not agents of Iran…we took this decision by ourselves,” Al Houthi told the BBC.
The coalition described the drone attack as a “war crime”. — Reuters