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Saudis Pledge to Continue Yemen Bombing Campaign

March 27, 2015 in Blogs

By Kareem Shaheen, The Guardian

Coalition says it has established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished initial goals of destroying air defense systems under Houthi control.


 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen has vowed to continue its air campaign as bombing entered a second day.

The Shia rebels’ northern stronghold and other key military installations were targeted and heavy air strikes hit Sana’a, the capital, in waves throughout the night. Officials at the rebel-controlled health ministry in the city said at least 39 civilians had been killed so far.

The Saudi defence minister’s adviser, Brig Ahmed bin Hassan Asiri, said at the campaign’s first press briefing late on Thursday night that the Saudi-led coalition had established air superiority over Yemen and accomplished its initial goals of destroying air defence systems under Houthi control.

He said a ground campaign was not planned, but he did not rule out the possibility. “At these current stages there is no planning for operations by ground forces, but if the situation necessitates it the Saudi ground forces are ready and the forces of friendly states are ready and any form of aggression will be answered,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and fellow Sunni-led allies in the Gulf and the Middle East view the Houthi takeover in Yemen as an attempt by Iran to establish a proxy on the kingdom’s southern border. The campaign, operation Decisive Storm, threatens to spark a regional confrontation between Iran and its Arab rivals, who are increasingly anxious at the Islamic republic’s growing influence in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Arab officials still hope the air campaign – launched late on Wednesday and backed by the US, Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey – will weaken the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, who are attempting to overthrow President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and avoid the need for a ground offensive.

Asiri said air strikes targeted surface-to-air missile batteries, anti-aircraft guns and Houthi command and communications centres. The Dulaimi air base was also hit, destroying aircraft hangars and runways as well as weapons, ammunition and maintenance depots.

“The operations will continue as long as there is a need …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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