Saudi-led coalition strikes Yemen's capital to revenge Houthi missile towards Mecca

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-29 05:19:03|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SANAA, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Saudi-led coalition launched a series of airstrikes on Yemen's capital Sanaa on Friday, just few hours after Saudi Arabia said it intercepted a ballistic missile headed towards Muslim holy city of Mecca, officials and residents said.

A security official said the airstrikes hit the civil and military airports, Republican Guards School and the headquarters of the National Security Agency north of Sanaa several times.

Other strikes hit three military camps in downtown Sanaa and air defense bases on the top of mountains in the west, south and east of the capital.

Residents said the airstrikes continued from midnight until Friday dawn, and described them as "most intensified" since the beginning of the war. They said the warplanes broke the sound barrier when carrying out the powerful strikes.

"Sanaa has been regularly hit by the coalition warplanes and we have used to that, but today is different," said a 28-year-old citizen, Yahya Mutahar.

"They waged more than twenty powerful airstrikes since midnight until the morning that really panic all of us, shook our houses and smashed our windows," said Mutahar, who lives in al-Hasaba quarter in central Sanaa.

Dozens of families living in neighborhoods near the military camps in downtown were seen fled their homes during the strikes.

Xinhua reporter at the scene saw tens of houses were damaged and windows smashed, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Huge fire and black smoke were seen rising from hangars inside the nearby camps and from bases on the top of surrounding mountains.

Hours earlier, Saudi Arabia said its air defense force on Thursday night intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias that was headed towards Mecca.

It said in a statement that the missile was intercepted with its fragments being dropped in an uninhabited area. Meanwhile, a coalition aircraft managed to destroy the launch pad.

However, the Yemeni Houthi movement denied that it targeted Mecca, saying in a statement that the missile was aimed at King Fahd Air Base in al-Taif city, about 110 km southeast the Muslim holy city of Mecca. The Houthi statement said the missile has hit the Saudi air base accurately.

This is the second time the coalition accused Yemeni Houthi rebels of targeting the Muslim holy city of Mecca.

In October 2016, Saudi-led coalition announced that its forces intercepted and destroyed a missile 65 km away from the holiest city of Muslims that fired from Yemen, while no damages were reported.

Houthis have been targeting Saudi-border cities since the beginning of the war in Yemen more than two years ago.

Last week, the Shiite Houthi group said it had fired a new long-range ballistic missile and struck oil refineries in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea port city of Yanbu.

Saudi Arabia neither commented on the Houthi claims nor reported any casualties.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict to back internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Iranian-backed Houthis, who invaded the capital Sanaa militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces.

More than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the war that also displaced over 3 million, according to UN agencies.

The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and is on the edge of famine.