Watch: Huge Explosion Erupts From Saudi Airstrike on Houthi Weapons Depot in Sana'a
23:44 GMT 23.12.2021 (Updated: 00:32 GMT 24.12.2021)
Saudi airstrikes on the Yemeni capital of Sana'a on Friday morning struck several sites, including a Houthi munitions depot, which sparked a massive fire.
Riyadh gave the Houthis a six-hour ultimatum on Thursday to remove its weapons from the Al Thawra Sports Complex, which is home turf for the Yemeni national football team. However, conflicting reports say the airstrikes have targeted other sites around the city and so far spared the sports arena.
Photos and videos posted on social media captured the massive explosion caused by the strike, as well as numerous other smaller explosions likely to be stored munitions "cooking off" due to the blaze.
However, Saudi bombs fell in other places around the capital, as well. One video showed a massive crater in a Sana'a street, claimed to have been caused by an airstrike on Friday morning.
"If an international committee finds any drones or missiles at Al-Thawra we will directly hand them to the United Nations, but if nothing is found, the coalition should permanently halt their attacks," Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, said on Twitter.
A spokesperson for the coalition told Al-Arabiya
that the airstrikes had targeted weapons transfers in progress, and that weapons had been moved to the Tashrif camp by the Houthis prior to Riyadh's deadline.
The Saudi Royal Air Force has been pounding Sana'a for days
, striking the city's international airport earlier this week and causing damage that observers said would limit the ability of large aid-carrying transport aircraft to land there.
The Saudi-led anti-Houthi coalition, which includes the government of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, has been steadily losing ground to the Houthis in the northern Ma'rib Governorate
, the coalition's last stronghold in the north. The Houthis have captured much of the surrounding countryside, but the central city of Ma'rib remains only under their partial control. However, recent attempts
to gain control over the commanding ridgeline of Jabal al-Balaq al-Awsat mountain could soon spell disaster for the remaining coalition forces inside Ma'rib.
The war began in March 2015 when the Houthis forced Hadi from power at the head of a mass movement against austerity reforms proposed by his government. The Saudi blockade and bombing campaign have created a massive humanitarian crisis in the country, where an estimated 377,000 people
have died, most of them from indirect causes created by infrastructure failures, hunger, and disease, according to the United Nations.
An attempt to block a $650 million
weapons sale to the Saudi monarchy by the United States was rejected by the US Senate earlier this month. The Biden administration said in February it would stop selling offensive weapons to the Saudis that could be used in the Yemen war, but that it would still sell them defensive weapons like anti-air missiles that could be used to shoot down Houthi ballistic missiles and drones being used to strike targets inside the kingdom.
However, since the Yemen war has become a war of attrition, giving the Saudis defensive weapons but not the Houthis still enables Riyadh to prosecute its war in Yemen by limiting the negative effects of the war on its own population.