Houthi-aligned forces in Yemen claimed responsibility yesterday for the missile strikes in Saudi Arabia that a spokesman described as the "largest military operation" ever undertaken in response to the escalation by the "aggression coalition". Brigadier General Yahya Saree made his comments following Saturday's ballistic missile attacks on the Saudi capital Riyadh and the southern city of Jizan.
Reuters cited Saudi state media as reporting that two missiles were intercepted by air defence systems, resulting in "debris scattering on some residential areas". However, that claim by Saudi military spokesman Turki Al-Malki contradicts statements made by Saree, who said that Sammad-3 drones and Zulfiqar short-range ballistic missiles struck designated targets in the Saudi capital.
— Robert Carter (@Bob_cart124) March 30, 2020
Saree added that the Yemeni army and allied Houthi forces used Qasef-2k drones and launched Badr short-range ballistic missiles to strike economic and military sites in Saudi's Jizan, Najran and Asir border regions. Historically, these areas were part of Yemen.
The attacks represent the first major assault on the Kingdom since last September's attacks on Aramco oil facilities. On Thursday, the leader of the Houthi movement, Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, vowed that the Saudi-led coalition will witness new "advanced military capabilities" not seen before. Saree said that more information on the operation will be released in the coming days.
Yesterday, the head of the Houthi-government's national negotiation delegation, Mohammed Abdulsalam, affirmed that there was no option left for the military but to respond to continued Saudi aggression and thus "defend the dignity of the nation". His remarks came after the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said that he was "gravely dismayed and disappointed" following the retaliatory attacks in Saudi.
This prompted criticism from the Sanaa-based government's ambassador to Tehran, Ibrahim Mohammad al-Dailami, who tweeted: "As before, the UN envoy is in the habit of adopting double standards by condemning the victim and exonerating the executioner and inverting reality."
Happening NOW in Sana'a the capital of #Yemen
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes pic.twitter.com/mEMsYOvcsm
— Ahmed Jahaf احمد جحاف (@A7medJa7af) March 30, 2020
As of today, there have been reports that the Saudi-led coalition has carried out air strikes on the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which has been under control of Houthi forces since 2014.