Saudi Arabia launched a military operation on Thursday night to counter the encroachment of Houthi rebel forces on Aden, the city in southern Yemen where U.S.-backed Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has taken refuge since February.
Riyadh is contributing around 100 fighter jets and 150,000 soldiers to the operation.
Six other countries in the Middle East are contributing fighter jets, while Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan are taking part in a ground offensive in Yemen.
Airstrikes on Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, have hit the city’s international airport, Sanaa’s al Dulaimi military airbase and the presidential government complex. Reports citing Yemeni security forces say that Houthi arsenals and four Sukhoi fighter jets were destroyed during Thursday’s military operation.
Iranian-backed Houthi rebel forces have taken control of large swathes territory in western Yemen. The rebels seized parts of Sanaa last September and captured the city’s presidential palace in January.
This week’s airstrikes have affected global oil prices as Arab oil tankers must pass through Yemen’s Gulf of Aden to get to the Suez Canal and Europe.
According to Reuters, a senior Houthi leader said that the Saudi operation amounts to aggression against Yemen and warned that Thursday’s airstrikes would set off a “wide war” in the region.
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