Source The National

ABU DHABI, UAE--The Saudi-led coalition has destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad in Yemen’s Al Jawf province as the Yemeni army closes in on Houthi-held city of Harad.

The strike came in response to the “threat and the military necessity to protect civilians from hostile attacks”, the coalition said.

On Saturday, the Arab coalition fighting the Houthis announced the start of a military operation aimed at “legitimate military objectives” in Sanaa and a number of Yemeni provinces held by the Iran-backed rebels. It said roads leading to the city of Harad, in the north-western governorate of Hajjah, are within the planned areas of operations.

In an operation backed by the coalition, the Yemeni army fifth military zone’s “Happy Yemen Brigades” surrounded Harad.

The military said it had begun clearing thousands of Houthi landmines from the city at the weekend. It said humanitarian operations in the liberated areas would start after the areas were cleared.

The coalition said it had carried out 16 operations against the Houthi rebels in Marib and Hajjah in the 24-hour period, destroying nine vehicles and killing dozens of rebels.

Hajjah lies about 120 kilometres north-west of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which the rebels seized in 2014. Pro-government forces backed by the coalition captured the Red Sea port of Midi in April 2018, but rebels still control about 80 per cent of Hajjah province.

The operations to recapture Harad come as an offensive was launched by the Yemeni army to recapture districts in the oil-rich province of Marib in central Yemen.

Last month, the Houthi militia lost several districts in the south-eastern province of Shabwa.