Blast rocks missile base in Yemen capital

There was no immediate word of casualties from the blast, which blew out windows in homes beside Hadda district

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Saudi-led airstrikes hit weapons caches held by Iran-backed Shiite rebels, touching off massive explosions Monday in Yemen's capital that killed at least 19 people.

The blast blew out windows in homes, after hitting the base on Faj Attan mountain beside Hadda district, where the presidential palace and many embassies are located.

Resident Adel Mansour told the agency was the largest explosion in more than three weeks of bombing by a Saudi-led coalition.

Since March 26, Saudi Arabia has led an alliance of Arab countries in air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group and militias of the deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"For the first time since the start of the bombing the windows of my house smashed," Mansour said. "My children are terrified and one of my relatives fainted because of the force of the blast."

The Saudi-led campaign has repeatedly targeted the Faj Attan facility along with other military bases and airports in Sanaa and throughout the country.

The coalition has so far destroyed in Yemen “80 percent” of Houthi ammunition and the threat from their “ballistic missiles” was “neutralized,” the coalition’s spokesman said on Sunday night.

Saudi-led coalition forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said in a daily briefing that “the [Houthi] militias were preparing an attack on Saudi borders but they were stopped from advancing.”

Due to the air strikes, the Houthis no longer have a central communication command, making their attacks “isolated operations,” Asiri added.

“There are no connections between provinces, because all communication means were destroyed, leaving their operations isolated especially near the Saudi border,” he added.

Asiri said “workshops” used by the Houthis to manufacture arms were also “completely destroyed.”

[With Reuters and the Associated Press]

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