Houthi news agency Al Masirah reports that a Saudi-led coalition air strike killed one handler and up to 70 horses at a military academy in the rebel capital city of Sanaa on Monday, March 30.
Graphic photos published by the news outlet show the heavily damaged stables littered with dead and injured horses, in what appears to be the latest in a barrage of retaliatory attacks by the coalition.
According to further witnesses and media reports, a large number of attacks were perpetrated across Houthi-held parts of Yemen on March 29 and 30. Sanaa was targeted with approximately 25 air strikes after a period of relative calm since September, 2019. Meanwhile, Hodeidah was also badly bombed in the latest round of retaliatory raids.
The attacks appear to be retribution for two ballistic missiles fired by the Iran-aligned Houthi militia late on the night of Saturday, March 28. Falling shrapnel from the missiles that Saudi Arabia’s air defense intercepted and destroyed over Riyadh and Jazan “lightly injured” two people.
In a statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi coalition forces spokesman Turki Al-Maliki confirmed the raids took place across several governorates including Hodeidah.
“In response to the ballistic missile threat, the Joint Forces Command of the Coalition has conducted a military operation to neutralize and destroy ‘legitimate military targets’ of the terrorist Houthi militia,” Al-Maliki said on March 30.
The spokesman said the destruction included, “storage, assembly and installation sites of ballistic missiles and UAVs, locations of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) experts, and weapons depots.”
The retaliatory strikes come just days after parties to the conflict agreed in principle to a ceasefire that would enable them to collectively tackle the threat of COVID-19.
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed his alarm at the renewed violence in Yemen and again called for an end to hostilities in the country that has been ravaged by five years of bloody civil war.
“I am gravely dismayed and disappointed by these actions at a time when the Yemeni public’s demands for peace are unanimous and louder than ever before. Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak,” said an exasperated Griffiths.
“In wars, the windows to build unity and find common grounds between fighting parties are rare and precarious,” Griffiths said, adding, “I hope the peace advocates on either side of the conflict will not allow this window to close without making real progress.”