A Saudi-led airstrike campaign targeting rebels who control much of Yemen has pushed them out of contested air bases and destroyed any jet fighter remaining in the Arab world’s poorest country, the Kingdom has said.
Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri said the airstrike campaign, now entering its fourth day on Sunday, continued to target Scud missiles in Yemen, leaving most of their launching pads “devastated,” according to remarks carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
However, he warned on Saturday that the rebels, known as Houthis, could control more of the missiles. His account could not be immediately corroborated.
The Houthis began their offensive in September, seizing the capital, Sanaa, and later holding embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi under house arrest. The rebels later took over government in Yemen and ultimately forced Hadi to flee the country in recent days.
A Saudi-led coalition of some 10 countries began bombing Yemen on Thursday, saying it was targeting the Houthis and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen’s former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Saturday, Hadi directly accused Iran of being behind the Houthi offensive as leaders at an Arab summit considered creating a military reaction force in the Mideast, raising the specter of a regional conflict pitting Arab nations against Iran.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Pakistan planned to dispatch a plane to the Yemeni city of Hodeida, hoping to evacuate some 500 citizens gathered there, said Shujaat Azim, an adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister. Azim told state-run Pakistan Television more flights would follow as those controlling Yemen’s airports allowed them.
Pakistan says some 3,000 of its citizens live in Yemen.
Ali Hassan, a Pakistani in Hodeida, told Pakistan’s private GEO satellite news channel that hundreds there anxiously waited for a way home.
“We had sleepless nights due to the bombardment in Sanaa,” Hassan said.