Saudi-led coalition expands aerial bombardment against Houthis in Yemen: source

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition intensified its aerial bombardment against the Houthi militia in various regions of Yemen on Saturday, a military official told Xinhua.

“Scores of airstrikes were launched by warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemeni oil-rich provinces of Shabwa and Marib during the past hours,” the local military source said on condition of anonymity.

The intensified aerial bombardment largely helped the Southern Giants Brigades gain on-ground military progress and managed to capture Marib’s district of Harib from the Houthis, he said.

The source noted that “the Saudi-led coalition urged the Yemeni people to avoid using or traveling through some roads as the intensified aerial bombardment campaign will continue during the upcoming hours.”

“The Houthis also attempted to escape the airstrikes and resorted to using civilian vehicles in order to transfer weapons towards their military sites,” he added.

Earlier on the day, the Coalition Spokesperson Brigadier General Turki Al Maliki announced that “the coalition’s leadership has asked Yemeni citizens and travelers not to use roads leading from the provinces of Marib and al-Bayda to the districts of Harib, Ain, Bayhan, and Usaylan.”

According to the coalition’s spokesperson, “the request not to use these roads will be in effect from 3 p.m. local time on Saturday, Jan. 15 until further notice.”

He clarified that the coalition’s forces considered these roads as “operational areas that are watched around the clock, and any movement on these roads will be targeted.”

He also requested “Yemeni residents not to stay away from these roads for their own safety.”

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since the Houthi militia overran much of the country militarily and seized all northern provinces, including the capital Sanaa, in 2014.

Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis forced him into exile.