Baku-APA. Saudi Arabia launched air strikes in Yemen on Thursday in coalition with Gulf region allies to counter Iran-backed forces besieging the southern city of Aden, where the U.S.-supported Yemeni president had taken refuge, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Shortly after the kingdom’s ambassador in Washington announced the military action, unidentified warplanes launched an attack on the Yemeni capital Sanaa’s airport and its al Dulaimi military airbase, residents and an official said.
The White House said in a statement late on Wednesday that the United States supported the operation led by the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries and that President Barack Obama had authorized U.S. "logistical and intelligence support."
"While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support," National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in the statement.
Yemen's slide toward civil war has made the country a crucial front in mostly Sunni Saudi Arabia's rivalry with Shi'ite Iran, which Riyadh accuses of stirring up sectarian strife throughout the region and in Yemen with its support for the Houthis. The crisis now risks spiraling into a proxy war with Shi'ite Iran backing the Houthis, and Saudi Arabia and the other regional Sunni Muslim monarchies supporting Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.