Arab coalition bombs Houthi targets in Sanaa and Saada

Sanaa airport hit by missiles, hours after coalition warns ceasefire plans will be abandoned if Houthis keep fighting.

    Warplanes from the Arab coalition have bombed Sanaa's international airport, shortly after authorities in the rebel-controlled Yemeni capital said the airport would reopen to receive humanitarian aid.

    The runway was hit by two missiles on Saturday, witnesses told the news agency AFP, a day after the civil aviation authority in Sanaa announced it would repair the airport, which has been targeted frequently by air strikes.

    The strikes came hours after the coalition said a humanitarian ceasefire it announced in Yemen on Friday would only take place if the Houthi rebels ceased hostilities. 

    Also on Saturday, coalition warplanes reportedly pounded rebel bases and the homes of Houthi leaders in the rebel-held Saada province.

    Missiles pounded rebel chief Abdul Malik al-Houthi's hometown of Marran, and nearby Baqim, Al-Masirah television reported.

    Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from Riyadh, said the coalition's targeting of individual Houthi leaders was "a new tactic".

    "They even stated previously they were after the organisation, not the individuals," Vall said.

    "They want to tell the Houthis that now there are no targets that are off the table."

    Truce 'conditional'

    Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, on Saturday announced the coalition would implement a five-day truce beginning on Tuesday but warned air strikes would resume if the rebels failed to live to the "agreement". 

    "The ceasefire will end should Houthis or their allies not live up to the agreement - this is a chance for the Houthis to show that they care about their people and they care about the Yemen people," Jubeir told a joint news conference in Paris with US Secretary of State John Kerry. 

    Kerry said the ceasefire would take place "provided that the Houthis agree that there will be no bombing, no shooting, no movement of their troops or manoeuvring to reposition for military advantage [and] no movement of heavy weapons".

    Arab coalition declares all of Yemen's Saada province a 'military target'

    He stressed at the time that the pause in hostilities was a "renewable commitment" that, if it held, "opens the door to possibility of an extension". 

    Kerry visited Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and met with Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi during a visit intended to push for a truce. 

    The Houthis have yet to respond to the proposal, AFP reported.

    Hakim Almasmari, a journalist and analyst on Yemen, told Al Jazeera public opinion in the country was turning against the Houthis.

    "There's rising public anger against the Houthis in Yemen because Saudi Arabia has shown willingness that it wants a ceasefire...the Houthis have not responded to this call or shown any positive reaction," he said.

    Aid agencies have been struggling to deliver essential supplies to the victims of the fighting in Yemen, which began on March 26 when a coalition of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia began bombing rebel positions. 

    The rebels swept into the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September and have since tried to expand their control across the country.


    'Red line' crossed

    The fighting has spilled into Saudi Arabia, where rebels have killed civilians and Saudi soldiers, according to Saudi media. 

    The coalition on Friday said the rebels had crossed a "red line" by shelling populated border areas in the kingdom and ordered residents in Saada province bordering Saudi Arabia to leave, saying "all of Saada will be a military target".

     

    Witnesses in Saada cited by the AFP news agency said coalition jets dropped leaflets urging residents to leave.

    Most of the fighting has been reported in the southern port city of Aden where Houthi rebels, battling forces loyal to the exiled president, continue to push for control of key towns despite six weeks of aerial bombardment by the coalition.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.