At least three civilians have been reported wounded. The attack on Yemen comes days after the country's Houthi rebels said they fired a missile at Riyadh airport in Saudi Arabia.

Friday's attack on the defence ministry is not the first. Saudi-led airstrikes bombed Yemen's Defence Ministry building in Sana.a, Yemen on June 10, 2015.
Friday's attack on the defence ministry is not the first. Saudi-led airstrikes bombed Yemen's Defence Ministry building in Sana.a, Yemen on June 10, 2015. (AP)

Air strikes targeted Yemen's defence ministry in the rebel-held capital city of Sana'a late Friday. Witnesses and Houthi media say the attack was carried out by the Saudi-led coalition who have been fighting the Iran-allied rebels sine 2015.

At least three civilians were wounded, witnesses said.

Warplanes continued to circle in the skies above Sana'a after the strikes, the witnesses added. 

The strikes hit a residential area near the ministry of defence building, which had been targeted just before.

"I was sitting at home and heard the first strike hit the ministry of defence. Everyone was afraid. Minutes later, another strike hit my neighbour's house," resident Mohammed Aatif said. 

Houthi media outlet al Masirah also reported two air strikes. 

The coalition has targeted the defence ministry in the past, leaving it heavily damaged. Friday's strikes come amid a ratcheting up of tensions between Saudi Arabia and its rival Iran, which backs the Houthi rebels.

The Saudi coalition shut down Yemen's borders earlier this week after Saudi forces on Saturday intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis near the Riyadh airport.

The rebels have threatened additional attacks on Saudi Arabia and its coalition partner the United Arab Emirates in response to the blockade.

The United Nations said on Friday that the coalition is still blocking desperately-needed UN aid deliveries to Yemen despite the re-opening of the Yemeni port of Aden and also a land border crossing. 

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock warned the Security Council that, unless the blockade was lifted, Yemen would face "the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims".

The world body has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine. 

More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting nearly one million people.

Iran, Saudi tension

The conflict in Yemen was sparked in September 2014 when the internationally recognised government of President Abudrabbuh Mansour Hadi was expelled from the capital Sana'a by the Houthis.

The conflict intensified in March 2015, when the Saudi-led military coalition joined the government’s fight against the Houthis with the stated aim of rolling back the rebel gains and restoring the government of Hadi to power.

The Houthis continue to control the capital Sana'a and much of Yemen's north. In those areas, health care and education are in even more dire straits than the rest of the country as the government cut off funding to state facilities.

The conflict has left more than 8,650 people dead, including many civilians.

Source: AFP