Houthi official says Yemen strikes will set off 'wide war'

ADEN (Reuters) - A senior leader of Yemen's Houthi movement said on Thursday that Saudi air strikes amounted to an aggression against his country and warned they would set off a "wide war" in the region. "The Yemeni people are a free people and they will confront the aggressors. I will remind you that the Saudi government and the Gulf governments will regret this aggression," Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthis Ansarullah politburo, told the Doha-based al Jazeera television. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar said they had decided to act to protect Yemen against what they called aggression by the Iranian-backed Houhti militia, according to a joint statement by the five Gulf Arab countries. They acted after the Houthis, backed by Yemeni army troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, advanced on Aden, threatening the southern city where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is based. "There is an aggression underway on Yemen and we will confront it valiantly," Bukhaiti said. "Military operations will drag the region to a wide war." (Reporting by Mostafa Hashem in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi, Editing by William Maclean)