Saudi suffers first civilian losses in Yemen conflict in years after Houthi rocket hits shop

Saudi Arabia has launched a “large-scale” offensive on Yemen after a Houthi missile attack killed two civilians in the south of the kingdom over the weekend in what is thought to be the first fatalities inside Saudi from the conflict in three years.

A projectile hit a storefront in the southern Saudi region of Jizan on Friday, killing two people, injuring at least seven others, and destroying properties and cars, Saudi media reported.

In retaliation, the Saudi-led coalition – which has been fighting the Houthis in support of the internationally-recognised Yemeni government since 2015 – launched an airstrike in the northwest of Sana’a. Yemeni medics said that three people were killed, including a woman and a child, while six others were injured.

The Saudi-led coalition said shortly after the fatal attack that it was “preparing for a large-scale military operation”. The Houthis warned their response would be “painful” if Saudi did not stop its “aggression” on Yemen.

At a press conference on Sunday, the Arab Coalition spokesperson Brig Gen Turki al-Maliki, announced the operation, also presenting evidence of what it described as Hezbollah’s control of Sana’a airport and how the group is converting it to a launchpad for drone and missile attacks.

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