Saudi coalition answers oil attacks with airstrikes in Yemen

May 16 (UPI) — Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen Thursday killed at least six people and injured dozens, an operation the Saudi government said is retaliation for terror attacks this week on oil infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia and coalition forces launched 19 airstrikes, including 11 in the capital Sanaa, officials said. All the dead are civilians.

Though military sites were targeted, several homes were hit in the bombings, which Saudi officials said were aimed at “neutralizing the ability” of Houthi rebels.

“The sorties achieved its goals with full precision,” the coalition said.

One airstrike hit a densely populated area that’s been hit before.

“The explosion was so strong that stones were flying. This is the first time our house shakes so much,” resident Abdulrazaq Mohammed said.

Riyadh said the strikes answer drone attacks on two oil pumping stations this week, which it blamed on Iran and Houthi forces. The rebels said they were also retaliatory, for “crimes” Saudi Arabia has committed in Yemen since 2015. The oil stations are part of a critical Saudi pipeline that could become even more important if Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. The Saudi deputy defense minister accused Tehran of ordering the attacks as a “tool to implement its expansionist agenda in the region.”

The United Arab Emirates, a Saudi ally, promised to continue bombing if Houthis continue to target civilians.

“We will retaliate and we will retaliate hard,” UAE diplomat Anwar Gargash said.

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