Saudi-led coalition strikes Yemen's army headquarters
SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- A series of pre-dawn airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition on Sunday targeted the headquarters of Yemen's armed forces in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, causing heavy destruction to the facility, security officials said.
They said the airstrikes damaged several nearby homes and the entire city shook from the blasts.
There was no immediate word on casualties. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The U.S.-backed coalition began launching airstrikes on March 26 against the Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, and their allies in the military and security forces. The Houthis seized Sanaa in September and later captured much of northern Yemen before advancing on the south in March.
Their advance on the south forced internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee Sanaa and take sanctuary in the southern port city of Aden. He fled to neighboring Saudi Arabia in March.
Sunday's airstrikes came one day after the Houthis fired a Scud missile into Saudi Arabia, a dramatic escalation of the conflict. The attack indicated that despite more than two months of coalition airstrikes the rebels still pose a threat to cities across the border inside Saudi Arabia.
The official Saudi Press Agency said two missiles launched from a Patriot missile battery shot down the Scud before dawn near the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait. The agency did not report any casualties in the attack, the first use of a Cold War-era Scud by the rebels since the airstrikes began in late March.
Yemen's state news agency SABA, now controlled by the Houthis, acknowledged that the rebels fired the Scud. Khamis Mushait is home to the King Khalid Air Base, the largest such facility in that part of the country.
The Yemeni military was widely believed to possess around 300 Scud missiles, most of which fell into the hands of the rebels. In April, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, implied that the Scud arsenal in Yemen had been seriously degraded as a result of the airstrikes.