An air strike on Yemen’s capital by a Saudi-led military coalition has killed dozens of Houthi rebels including two commanders, according to a Saudi TV station.
Saudi state-owned news channel Al Ekhbariya said on Saturday that two high-ranking rebels were killed in the raid in Sanaa on Friday evening.
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said a total of 38 rebels were killed in the attack on a Houthi interior ministry building. A police building adjacent to the Houthi-controlled ministry was also struck.
The Houthis confirmed an air raid on Sanaa but gave no details.
On Saturday, Houthis staged a large-scale funeral for the two commanders in Sanaa, in a display of military strength.
Six pick-up trucks bearing the bodies of the leaders, and other Houthis killed in the attack, were escorted by soldiers in dress uniform towards a square where a crowd of thousands awaited.
In a separate development on Saturday, Saudi air defences reportedly intercepted four missiles fired by Houthi rebels at Saudi’s southern Jazan province near the border with Yemen.
The rebels launched eight ballistic missiles towards Jazan, aimed at “economic and vital targets”, the Houthi-run state news agency Saba reported.
Colonel Yahya Abdullah Al-Qahtani, a spokesperson for Jazan’s Civil Defence Directorate, said shrapnel from the projectile resulted in the death of a Saudi national.
The war in Yemen has entered its fourth year.
Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government have battled on and off since 2004, but much of the fighting was confined to the impoverished northern Saada province, a Houthi stronghold.
In September 2014, the Houthis took control of Sanaa and proceeded to push southwards towards the country’s second-biggest city, Aden.
In response to the Houthi advances, a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign in 2015 to defeat the Houthis and restore Yemen’s government.
The campaign by the coalition against the Houthis has seen more than 16,000 air raids launched across the country since March 26, 2015.
The attacks have devastated Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East.
A third of air raids have targeted non-military sites, with at least 1,400 such attacks targeting residential areas.
More than 10,000 people have been killed. With at least 1,600 schools damaged or destroyed in the attacks, more than four million Yemeni children have been unable to attend school.
Yemen now stands at the brink of famine. The Saudi-led coalition imposed a total blockade on Yemen’s ports in November in retaliation for cross-border Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
The blockade has since been partially lifted, but access to the impoverished country remains limited.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies