Saudi-led coalition says Yemen rebel depots hit in Sanaa

Smoke billows following an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition in February in the Yemeni capital Sanaa (AFP Photo/MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Riyadh (AFP) - The Saudi-led coalition said it launched air raids Sunday targeting ballistic missile and drone depots in Yemen's capital of the Iran-backed Huthis, two days after the rebels fired missiles into the kingdom.

Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the coalition fighting alongside Yemen's internationally-recognised government, said the strikes were in retaliation for ballistic missiles attacks on "civilian targets" in Saudi Arabia.

The coalition "carried out a unique military operation to destroy legitimate military targets for the capabilities of assembling and firing of Iranian ballistic missiles and drones in the capital Sanaa", he said, quoted by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

He said Sanaa had become "a Huthi militia assembly, installation and launching hub for ballistic missiles that target the kingdom".

The attacks destroyed storage, assembly and firing sites in the districts of Faj Atan, Al-Amad Camp and Al-Nahdain mountain, he said.

Riyadh said Friday it intercepted ballistic missiles fired by the Huthis in a "systematic, deliberate manner to target cities and civilians", in what it branded a breach of international law.

A Huthi spokesman said the group had targeted oil installations in the kingdom with a dozen Sammad-3 drones and ballistic missiles.

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused Iran of supplying sophisticated weapons to the Huthis, a charge Tehran denies.

The US last week also accused Tehran of delivering weapons to the rebels, citing arms it said it had intercepted, days after the Huthis claimed to have downed a Saudi fighter with an "advanced surface-to-air missile".

Since the coalition intervened to back the government in March 2015 after the rebels seized Sanaa, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people in impoverished Yemen, many of them civilians.