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Yemeni forces to strike strategic targets deeper inside Saudi Arabia: Top Houthi official

In this file picture, Yemeni forces launch a domestically-manufactured ballistic missile at a military site in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by the media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center)

Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement has praised the latest retaliatory missile and drone strikes on strategic sites deep inside Saudi Arabia, saying Yemen's army forces and allies are planning to hit more targets in reprisal for the kingdom's war on the impoverished nation.

“A number of Yemen's strategic goals were achieved during the operation [dubbed the Fourth Deterrent Balance Operation]. Several others will soon be attained,” Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of Ansarullah's political bureau, said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language al-Alam television news network on Thursday night.

He added, “What distinguishes the recent Yemeni military offensive from the previous ones is the high number of missiles used in the operation, as well as the sensitive targets struck.”

“Secondly, it was carried out after the peace offer [recently made by member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Mohammed Ali al-Houthi] to dispel Saudis’ delusion that Yemen has put forward the proposal out of despair. After strikes against the sensitive sites, however, Saudi Arabian authorities and their advocates, especially the United States and Britain, realized it was not the case,” Bukhaiti pointed out.

He noted that world countries now well know that Yemeni forces are capable enough to target the depths of the Saudi territory.

“Spokesman of the [Saudi-led] coalition of aggression [Colonel Turki al-Maliki] used to boast about how fast the Royal Saudi Air Forces could control Yemen's airspace in just 15 minutes. But he is now constantly talking about Yemeni missiles and strikes against Riyadh and other regions of Saudi Arabia, collecting the remains of the projectiles and putting them on public display,” the senior Ansarullah official stated.

On Tuesday, Bukhaiti told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television news network that the headquarters of the Saudi Defense Ministry, general intelligence agency as well as King Salman Air Base were among military targets hit in the recent Yemeni precision strikes on Riyadh and the southern Saudi border regions of  Najran and Jizan.

The Riyadh regime, he said, was trying to cover up the losses it has suffered in the raids, adding that the military operation made Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — a key party to the coalition —  change their strategies.

“The Yemeni weapons are continuously making progress, and the next strikes will be more painful and against more sensitive targets,” the Ansarullah official noted.

UAE-backed STC separatists expel Hadi loyalists from Socotra

Forces affiliated with Yemen's so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), who are backed by the United Arab Emirates, have begun expelling rival Saudi-backed militiamen linked to former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi from Socotra island.

The separatists fully captured the strategic Arabian Sea island on Friday following fierce clashes with Hadi loyalists, and the latter abandoned the territory, according to online news outlet Middle East Eye.

Fresh Saudi airstrikes leave five civilians dead in central Yemen

At least five civilians have been killed when Saudi military aircraft carried out airstrikes against areas in Yemen’s central province of al-Bayda.

Saudi warplanes conducted aerial assaults against a pickup truck, an oil tanker and a number of cars as they were traveling along a road linking Radman and Qaniya areas late on Thursday, leaving five people dead and several others injured, unnamed local sources told Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush the Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, US and other Western nations.

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