Saudi Arabia: Houthis will have to 'pay dearly' for targeting Saudi borders

Saudi-led forces continued their air strikes Friday against the Yemeni province of Saada, as vowed a 5-day humanitarian truce set to start Tuesday

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s air strikes on Yemen continued Friday, on the province of Saada, a city well known for Houthi presence, as a retaliation for Houthi attacks on Saudi border towns.

Houthis shelled a Saudi air defence facility north of Najran on Thursday after Saudi operations spokesperson General Asseri said the Houthis will have to “pay dearly” for targeting Saudi border towns, and that they “crossed a red line”.

“Houthi checkpoints in Saada will be targeted 24 hours” Assiri added.

On Friday the Saudi air force dropped fliers over Saada urging civilians to flee the city ahead of planned retaliatory strikes targeting the group’s bases in its hub of Saada, starting at 19.00 local time. 

Thursday’s Air strikes targeted two Houthi control centres in Bani Maaz and destroyed a mine factory in the old quarter of the city of Saada and a communications centre in the Mothalath area, according to Reuters.

Battles also continued between Houthi fighters and opposing militias in the city, with local sources saying 10 Houthis and five militiamen were killed on Thursday.

Coalition strikes were also conducted in Aden late on Thursday night and early on Friday morning.

The Houthis’ mortars and rockets into the Saudi border town of Najran on Tuesday and Wednesday, killed eight people. 

Saudi Arabia had offered a five-day humanitarian truce on Thursday, only hours before the Saada air strikes.

"The pause will affect all of Yemen for a period of five days," Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said. "The actual date will be announced shortly as well as the requirements.

Backed by Iran, the Houthis took control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa in September through an armed uprising, causing the Yemeni government to flee to Aden after the group attempted to disband the parliament in January.

A Saudi-led coalition began strikes against the Houthis on March 26, in response to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's calls to “save Yemen”. 

In a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris Friday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir announced that the Saudi-led international coalition would offer a five day ceasefire to Houthi rebels starting Tuesday. 

"We hope the Houthis will come to their senses and realize the interests of Yemen and the Yemeni people should be the top priority for everyone," said Jubeir. 

Jubeir signaled that Saudi Arabia would work closely with humanitarian aid agencies to ensure that aid supplies would reach those left without provisions due to the conflict in the country. 

Kerry added that though there was no immediate direct acceptance of the ceasefire, that signals from the Houthi camp seemed positive at an early stage.

TRTWorld and agencies