Iran’s Rouhani criticises Saudis over Yemen strikes

Iran’s president says its regional rival will see “sooner or later” the response for its air strikes against Houthis.

People leave their homes after Saudi-led coalition''Decisive Storm'' operation in Yemen
Saudi said on Saturday that at least 20 Houthi rebels were killed during fighting in the Yemeni city of Taiz [EPA]

Iran’s president has criticised Saudi Arabia for continuing to carry out air strikes against the Houthi rebels, warning that its regional rival will harvest “the hatred” it is sowing in Yemen. 

Iran has been critical of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen against the Houthis – allies of Iran.  

“You planted the seeds of hatred in this region and you will see the response sooner or later,” Hassan Rouhani told a military parade in capital Tehran. 

“Don’t bomb children, elderly men and women in Yemen. Attacking the oppressed will bring disgrace.”  

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already called the Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen “genocide” and a “major crime”.

On Saturday, fighting along Saudi’s border with Yemen killed another soldier from the kingdom, the Saudi-led coalition spokesman said.

The soldier is the seventh to die since coalition aircraft began air strikes on March 26.

Coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told reporters there was continuous fighting from Friday afternoon until late that night along the frontier in the southwestern Saudi region of Najran.

“One of our Saudi soldiers was killed,” Assiri said.

Saudi targets Taiz

Saudis answer UN call for aid to Yemen

The Saudi military also reported that coalition air strikes were launched in Taiz, targeting the presidential palace, which it claimed was being used as a storage depot for munitions and fuel by Houthi rebels. 

Assiri said at least 20 Houthi rebels were killed in Taiz.

He also announced that the state of Djibouti has opened its airspace for coalition forces to use. 

“We will use its sea and air space. This will reinforce our aid work. We will be able to move aid from the port of Djibouti to the Yemeni port.”

The Saudi-led air campaign is already on its fourth week. Saudi Arabia said it is targeting the Houthi rebels, whom they accused of being allied with Iran.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Afzal Ashraf, a defence and security analyst in London, said that despite the ongoing Saudi-led air strikes, there are no signs that the Houthi rebels are backing down.

Ashraf said that the Houthis are trying to provoke the Saudis to launch a ground invasion.

“The Houthis want to transform this into an insurgency, where they will use lighter arms in urban areas,” he said. “They want to make it very difficult for the Saudis.”

He also said that Saudi Arabia is not close to its goal of reinstalling Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as president of Yemen.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies