SANAA, Yemen

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition in Yemen on Thursday announced a large-scale military operation against Houthi rebels, state-run media said.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency, the coalition has launched a “widespread operation to paralyze the capabilities of the Houthis in a number of (Yemeni) provinces.”

It said the military operation is being carried out in response to “the threat and the principle of military necessity to protect civilians from attacks.”

The news agency added that the coalition is also “tracking the terrorist leaders responsible for targeting civilians,” referring to Houthi leaders and commanders.

Meanwhile, the Houthi-run Saba News Agency said the coalition carried out four attacks on al-Hudaydah city in western Yemen, as well as six more on Sanaa.

The development comes days after the Iranian-backed Houthis claimed responsibility for a deadly drone attack in Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, a member of the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the rebels since 2015.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when the Houthis captured much of the country, including Sanaa.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced, in what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

* Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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