Arab Coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki said the coalition on Monday carried out “a limited military operation for legitimate military objectives” at Yemen’s Sana’a Airport after it was used for military purposes by the Iran-backed Houthi militia, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Al-Maliki said that the airport has workshops for drones and ballistic missiles used by the Houthis in attacks.
SPA quoted him as saying that the Houthi militia exploits the airport’s special protection in “managing and launching hostile cross-border operations using ballistic missiles, drones and booby-trapped aircrafts to target civilians and civilian objects inside Yemen and the neighboring countries of Yemen.”
The spokesman explained that the coalition took “all legal measures to drop protection from some sites inside the airport based on Paragraph (2) of Article (52) of Additional Protocol I, and rules (7 and 8) of customary international humanitarian law,” the press agency reported.
Al-Maliki added that the military objectives included six sites used by the Houthis to manage the activity of drones and booby-trapped attacks, training drone personnel, and the residence of the trainers and trainees, in addition to two warehouses for booby-trapped drones.
Neutralizing and destroying these targets will not have any effect on the operational capacity of Sana’a Airport, and will not affect the management of the airspace, air traffic and ground handling operations, he stated.
Houthis use civilian objects as cover for operations
In an interview with Al Arabiya, al-Maliki said the Iran-backed Houthi militia used civilian objects as cover for their military operations, adding that the coalition took legal measures before launching military strikes at Sana’a Airport.
He also stressed that international law permits lifting the immunity of civilian sites, adding that the coalition gave civilians a warning to leave Sana’a Airport, although no civilians were present.
“We were keen that the operational operations of Sana’a Airport would not be affected,” he revealed in the interview, adding that the coalition’s air strikes on the airport targeted legitimate military targets.
The spokesman reiterated that the coalition alerts civilians before striking targets exploited by Houthi militia, stressing that the coalition has a consistent policy and defensive strategy in Yemen.
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