AL-MUKALLA: Houthi fighters in Yemen are using civilian facilities at Sanaa airport and the Red Sea port of Hodeidah as bases to launch ballistic missiles, the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy said on Monday.
The Iran-backed militia fired four missiles from the port and the airport on Monday targeting government-controlled areas in the northern province of Hajjah, where loyalist troops are advancing deeper into Haradh city.
The coalition said it would take “operational measures” to deter Houthi threats to Yemeni civilians. “The militarization of Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport threatens regional and international security,” it said.
Coalition airstrikes also hit military targets in Houthi-held Sanaa, and destroyed a ballistic missile launcher in the northern province of Al-Jawf.
In November, the coalition accused the Houthis of turning Sanaa airport into a military base to assemble and launch drones, ballistic missiles and other devices after a video showed Houthis testing an air defense system. It repeated accusations that the militia was militarizing civilian facilities in January after Houthi forces hijacked a UAE-flagged medical supply vessel in the Red Sea.
The Houthi missile attacks on Hajjah took place after street fighting on Monday between the Houthis and government forces, who pushed into the strategic northern city of Haradh on the fourth day of an offensive to control it.
Brig. Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, a Yemeni army spokesperson, told Arab News that government troops had seized control of more neighborhoods in the city amid fierce fighting with pockets of Houthi fighters who refused to surrender.
With the aim of breaking the army’s siege on their troops inside Haradh, the Houthis mounted an offensive on government troops on mountainous areas on the eastern edges of Haradh.
Majili said government troops had thwarted the Houthi counterattack and pushed them back to neighboring areas under their control. Dozens of Houthis and many army soldiers, including two military leaders, were killed in the fighting.
The security chief of Hajjah province, Brig. Amen Al-Hojori, warned Houthi fighters in Haradh that they should surrender to government troops or they would be killed or captured.
The city is significant because it is close to Al-Tewal border crossing, the largest land entry point to Saudi Arabia, and analysts told Arab News that the Houthis would “aggressively defend Haradh against government troops.”
Yemen Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed thanked the coalition for their continuing military support to government troops battling the Houthis in Haradh, and said he expected to regain full control of the city.