Storm deals a ‘decisive’ blow to Houthi menace

Storm deals a ‘decisive’ blow to Houthi menace
Updated 30 April 2015

Storm deals a ‘decisive’ blow to Houthi menace

Storm deals a ‘decisive’ blow to Houthi menace

Pakistan’s non-participation in Operation Decisive Storm against the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen will not affect the coalition’s work, the Defense Ministry said on Friday.
The Pakistani government had not yet announced its official position, said Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, consultant in the office of the defense minister, in his daily media briefing at Riyadh Air Base.
Pakistan earlier expressed “unequivocal support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” and promised to “stand shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia and its people” if Saudi territory were violated.
The country’s Parliament adopted a draft resolution calling on all sides to resolve their differences peacefully in a “deteriorating security and humanitarian situation” which has “implications for peace and stability of the region.”
It said: “Parliament desires that Pakistan should maintain neutrality in the Yemen conflict so as to be able to play a proactive diplomatic role to end the crisis.”
Al-Assiri said Pakistan would add value to the operation. However, the coalition currently has the capacity and trained personnel to do the job if the country does not participate.
“Pakistan’s participation is in the interest of the Yemeni people and the operation but there are other forces already with the coalition that are well trained for the terrain,” he said.
Meanwhile, coalition airstrikes have caused significant damage to the Houthis’ food, arms and fuel depots, and their communications network, Al-Assiri said, adding that the allies have been destroying ballistic and air defense missiles, and other ammunition stores.
“We are focusing on places where the enemy has been gathering, their supplies and communications. The air forces have shelled the Houthis in Saada, Emran, Shabwah Ma’rib and Sana’a,” said Al-Assiri.
The coalition’s forces have also been monitoring the Saudi-Yemeni border, and have targeted movement of rebels there, he said. “Air operations are continuing and there is a systematic operation now focused on supporting Popular Committees and elements on the ground loyal to the legitimate government,” he said.
The coalition has bombed a stadium in Aden used by the Houthis to store ammunition, and which had tunnels to transport arms and food supplies, Al-Assiri disclosed.
“The Houthis are now taking refuge in various civilian structures including public schools and sports complexes because they are on the run. We will target them wherever they are,” he said. The purpose is not to intentionally damage the country’s infrastructure, but target these facilities once they are used by the Houthis for military purposes.
He said the Houthis have caused the shortage of fuel in Yemen for the population by targeting distribution routes, as reported by various media outlets.