Saudi-led coalition launches fresh operation after 'Houthi boat attack'
The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen has launched a new military operation against the Houthi rebels north of Hodeidah, Saudi media reported, just after the coalition said it had intercepted an explosive-laden boat launched by the militants.
The US-backed coalition, which has been at war with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, said it had intercepted an unmanned boat rigged with explosives on Thursday.
The boat had been launched from the western port city of Hodeidah and was set to carry out a "imminent hostile and terrorist act" via remote control, the coalition claimed without specifying a target for the attack.
Shortly after capturing the Houthi-launched boat, Saudi-linked media reported that the coalition had launched a new military operation against the rebels in areas north of Hodeidah.
It said the operation would target what it described as "legitimate military targets" and urged civilians to stay away from the sites targeted.
The attack after the rebels claimed attacks on key Saudi oil facilities over the weekend, which knocked out half the kingdom's production and sent energy markets into a tailspin.
Both Washington and Riyadh, however, have blamed the attacks on Iran.
The Iran-backed rebels have also claimed several other drone attacks on the kingdom in recent months.
There was no immediate reaction from the Houthis.
The Saudi and UAE-helmed coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.
The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people - most of them civilians - and driven millions more to the brink of famine in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.