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Yemen: Saudi-led coalition attacks Houthi airbase in Sana’a

A Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said Friday it attacked an airbase in the rebel-held capital Sana’a, a day after the Yemeni government offered to restart peace talks with the insurgents.

“This operation includes targeting of ballistic-missile launch and storage locations … bomb-making and assembly workshops and their support locations in Al-Dailami Airbase in Sanaa,” coalition spokesperson Turki al-Malki said in a statement.

He added that the adjoining Sana’a international airport was still open to air traffic from the United Nations and other relief agencies.

Calling the attacked structures “legitimate military targets,” Malki said he will provide “evidence” of violations by the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels later Friday.

The development comes a day after the Yemeni government said it welcomed “all efforts to restore peace” following calls by key U.S. officials and the U.N.’s envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths for warring parties to come to the table “within a month.”

Elsewhere, clashes broke out in a southern district of Hodeidah, Reuters reported sources as saying, two days after the coalition said it deployed more than 10,000 more troops towards the port city.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have called for an end to the Yemen war, including airstrikes by the coalition.

Washington, a close Saudi ally, backs coalition forces by refuelling their jets and selling them weapons.

Saudi Arabia’s regional role has come under scrutiny after the killing in its Istanbul consulate last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former royal court insider-turned-critic and a columnist for the Washington Post.

Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war in 2015 to bolster Yemen’s internationally recognised President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi after the Houthis took over Sana’a.

Since the intervention, nearly 10,000 civilians have been killed, according to the World Health Organisation.

Other rights groups estimate the toll could be five times higher.

UN investigates origin of arms seized off Yemen coast by US Navy in August

With reporting from AFP

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