Airstrikes ‘achieving coalition objectives’

Airstrikes ‘achieving coalition objectives’
Updated 30 April 2015

Airstrikes ‘achieving coalition objectives’

Airstrikes ‘achieving coalition objectives’

Airstrikes against the Houthi militants have been intensified and the ground offensive in Yemen could start after the aim of the airstrikes is accomplished, the defense spokesperson said on Saturday.
Addressing the daily media briefing at the Riyadh air base, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, a consultant at the office of the defense minister, said the number of airstrikes increased from 50 every day to 80 and finally 120 on Saturday.
Making the first disclosure on airstrikes statistics, Al-Assiri said, “The coalition forces have launched 1,200 strikes so far. The aim of the air campaign is to destroy Houthis’ air defense, camps and ballistic missiles.”
Replying to a question on ground operation, he said, “Yes, we will do it suitably, according to the plan, when the objective of the airstrikes is fulfilled. There are certain objectives on which the coalition forces are working to protect the people of Yemen and their legitimate government.”
He emphasized that the coalition forces are working to disrupt the Houthi movement on the ground to thwart their logistics and supply processes.
“We have accurately implemented the air operation by closely following the movement of targets on the ground. Hence, the number of airstrikes were increased,” he said.
He also said the allied troops shelled the Houthi militants in Saada, Emran, Sanaa, Shabwah, Baizaa, Al-Zaalah and Aden.
The air operation is focused on dismantling the Houthi militia and restoring the legitimate government, he reiterated.
Al-Assiri said that the operation is now focused on military communication stations inside the Houthi camps and bases across Yemen. Moreover, the military operation is now concentrating on supporting people’s committees, civilians, tribesmen and defense forces fighting against the Houthi militants, he said.
“We closely followed the movement of the Houthi militants to prevent them from putting people’s lives to risk,” he pointed out, in reference to the militia using civic facilities like schools, hospitals, stadiums and refugee camps to store weapons and supply material.
“The Houthis bomb these sites after they are expelled. Their aim is to harm the infrastructure and citizens by targeting civic facilities.”
The coalition spokesman said that the southern border in Najran witnessed exchange of fire on Saturday as there were some firing attempts by militants, but they were forced to retreat.
On the maritime blockade and Iranian ship movement in the Gulf of Aden, he said, the blockade will thwart any attempt to enter Yemen.
On the reported ship movement, Al-Assiri said that the coalition forces have not noticed such activity.
Answering a question on two Iranians having been caught in Yemen, he said: “It is not strange to notice Iranian involvement as Iran was helping Houthi militants to dismantle the legitimate government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.”
“There is no doubt that Iranian and Shiite militia Hezbollah are supporting the Houthi militia,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Red Cross plane with humanitarian aid landed in Sana’a on Saturday.
According to the Red Cross, the shipment consists of more than 35 tons of medical aid, generators and emergency sanitation equipment.
Earlier, the first such plane, after the airstrikes began against the Houthi militants, landed on Friday in Sana’a after UNICEF and Red Cross were provided safe passage by the coalition.
Notably, the arrival comes a day after two boat carrying emergency medical aid and teams of surgeons from the Red Cross and Medicine Sans Frontiers docked in Aden.