Saudi deploys 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers for anti-Houthi campaign

The kingdom, along with 10 other countries, launched a series of airstrikes which continued into early Thursday targeting areas held by the militants

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Saudi Arabia deployed 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units on Thursday, after it launched its operation against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The Saudi aerial deployment enabled the Royal Saudi Air Force to take control of Yemen’s airspace early Thursday.

Infographic: The 'Decisive Storm' coalition

Infographic: The 'Decisive Storm' coalition
Infographic: The 'Decisive Storm' coalition

Reports also emerged that top Houthi leadership Abdulkhaliq al-Houthi, Yousuf al-Madani, and Yousuf al-Fishi were killed, and head of the Revolutionary Committee for the Houthis, Mohammed Ali al-Hothi, was wounded.

Saudi allies including its Gulf counterparts - except Oman - also showcased their military power to curb the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from reaching Aden to dislodge Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who remained in the southern city.

The Gulf nations said they decided to “repel Houthi aggression” in neighboring Yemen, following a request from the country’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

In their joint statement Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait said they “decided to repel Houthi militias, al-Qaeda and ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in the country.”

The Gulf states warned that the Houthi coup in Yemen represented a “major threat” to the region’s stability.

The UAE contributed 30 fighter jets, Bahrain 15, Kuwaiti 15, Qatar 10 and Jordan 6 in the operation.

On Thursday, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan also expressed their readiness to participate on the ground in Yemen.

The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition opposition group said it backed the Saudi operation and voiced its support to Hadi as Yemen’s “legitimate” leader.

The campaign has also received the backing of the U.S..

The White House on Wednesday said Washington is coordinating closely with Saudi Arabia and regional allies in the campaign, providing intelligence and logistical support.

Read also: King Salman orders airstrikes against Houthis

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