The first phase of a military campaign led by Saudi Arabia against Yemen’s Houthi rebels was “successful,” a military spokesman for led Operation Decisive Storm said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Riyadh Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri said “the goals of phase I of the operations were achieved through air supremacy,” citing the use of state-of-the-art air warplanes and logistics to destroy air defenses of the Houthi militia, attack their airbases, destroy on-the-ground aircraft and ballistic missiles and silence their command and control centers.
Asiri said the air campaign began in the first hour of Thursday with air raids to target a number of key posts, Houthis air defenses, particularly surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and anti-aircraft artillery.
The spokesman of the Decisive Storm said the pilots were able in the first 15 minutes of the raids to have "complete control" on the skies of Yemen, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
He explained that each air sortie consists of a large number of aircraft, including the fighters, refueling, early warning, reconnaissance, search and rescue.
Asiri said the Sanaa-based al-Dilaimi airbase, which includes Houthi warplanes, ammunition inventories, maintenance centers and technical support for aircraft was a major goal of the operation.
No one will be allowed to provide any support or “supplies” to the Houthi rebels under the present circumstances, Asiri added.
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.
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.
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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.”SHOW MORE