Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki (author) YEMEN TIMES
SANA’A, March 26—Twenty-five citizens were reported killed and another 40 injured in the capital Sana’a on Thursday following Saudi-led airstrikes early that morning.
The air raid came as part of operation “Decisive Storm” involving over a hundred fighter jets, with strikes reported in the governorates of Sa’ada, Sana’a and Lahj. Led by Saudi Arabia, a coalition of ten countries are said to be involved in the campaign.
A government press release issued through the state-run Saba News Agency earlier reported 18 deaths and 24 injuries. Speaking with the Yemen Times later on Thursday, Mohammad Al-Qubati, head of the Monitoring Department in the Ministry of Health, confirmed that 25 had died and 40 were injured. He could not verify in what parts of the city the victims came from.
According to a source in the Ministry of Defense, a number of key military installments were damaged or destroyed in the attack. These included four Houthi-controlled war planes and the Air Force Joint Operations Command, the First Armored Divisions’s headquarters, Sana’a International Airport, the Special Security Forces (SSF) headquarters, and the Joint Operations Command at RaimatHumaid camp in the Sanhan district of Sana’a.
The Presidential Palace and parts of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s residence were also targeted in the attacks.
Al-Anad Airbase in Southern Lahj governorate was damaged in air strikes there, while the house of Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi was said to be targeted in northern Sa’ada governorate.
According to statements given to Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya news channels, the Saudi Ministry of Defense confirmed that all Gulf member states except for Oman has participated in the raid. A fleet of 150 Saudi war planes were supported by 30 Emirati jets, 15 from both Kuwait and Bahrain, ten from Qatar, six from Jordan and Morocco, and another three from Sudan.
The ministry added that Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan were willing to provide troops for a possible ground offensive, and that the United States was providing intelligence and logistical support.
According to a joint statement from members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), operation Decisive Storm came in response to requests for military intervention from Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and aimed at “protecting Yemen and its citizens from continued Houthi aggression in the south” and “in support of its fight against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.”
The attacks started at midnight Wednesday and lasted until around 5 a.m. Thursday morning. The KSA announced that the air raids will continue until further notice.
According to Saudi newspaper Okaz, the Saudi ambassador in Washington Adel Al-Jubeir said operations are based on the UN Charter and come with support from the Arab League, and that continued strikes will not be confined to any part of the country.
The White House released a statement late Wednesday declaring American support for the campaign. The US military is providing logistical support and has established a joint planning unit with Saudi Arabia, according to the statement.
These raids came as a response to the callings made by the Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Yasin when he called on the UNSC and the GCC on Wednesday morning to intervene militarily in Yemen.
On Thursday morning the Yemen Times visited Al-Wadhahi, a residential neighborhood in the capital located near Sana’a International Airport. Locals said that two families, a total of six to eight people, were killed and their corpses taken away in the middle of the night. Eight houses were also destroyed, and more bodies were feared to be hidden beneath the rubble.