Saudi-led coalition to attack ‘secret drone laboratory’ in Sanaa

The coalition says it is launching fresh raids on the Houthi-held Yemeni capital, Sanaa, warns residents to stay away from targeted areas.

People walk as police troopers stand at the scene of a Saudi Arabia-led air raid in Sanaa, Yemen, November 11, 2021 [File: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters]

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthis says it is launching air raids on “legitimate” military targets in the Yemen capital, Sanaa.

In a statement on Saudi state media, the coalition on Wednesday asked civilians not to gather around, or approach, targeted areas.

These include a building under construction in Sanaa that it said Houthis were using as a secret laboratory for drones.

The plans for fresh raids come a day after Saudi Arabia-led forces bombed what it called a “secret” ballistic missile launch site in Sanaa.

It is not clear if there were any casualties in Tuesday’s raids.

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting the Houthis since 2015, when it intervened in the impoverished country to shore up the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Iran-aligned government deposed his government from the capital.

The Houthis have stepped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent months, using drones and missiles. The rebel group said on Saturday that it had launched 14 drones at several Saudi cities, including at Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah.

The latest clashes came as the United Nations warned that Yemen’s seven-year-old war would claim at least 377,000 lives by the end of the year.

The UN Development Programme, in a new report on Tuesday, said nearly 60 percent of those deaths would have been caused by the indirect consequences of war, such as a lack of safe water, hunger and disease.

At least 150,000 people would have been killed in the fighting, it said.

The UN calls the conflict in Yemen the greatest humanitarian disaster in the world.

Fighting has escalated on several fronts in recent weeks, mostly near the strategic city of Marib, the internationally-recognised government’s last major stronghold in Yemen’s oil-rich north.

Thousands of rebels and pro-government fighters have been killed in the battle for the city, which is home to three million people.

The UN refugee agency, in separate comments on Tuesday, said it was “gravely concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Yemen’s Marib governorate, including more than one million people who are estimated to be displaced”.

Some 40,000 people have been forced to flee in Marib since September, said UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo in Geneva.

“Health conditions such as acute watery diarrhoea, malaria and upper respiratory tract infections are common among the newly displaced,” she said.

The International Organization for Migration, meanwhile, said Marib’s 137 displacement sites have seen a nearly tenfold increase in new arrivals since September, with as many as 40 people sharing one small tent.

“We’ve not witnessed this much desperation in Marib in the last two years as we have in the last two months,” said the IOM’s Yemen chief of mission, Christa Rottensteiner.

Source: News Agencies