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18 killed in Saudi coalition airstrikes in Yemen; Iran condemns operation

Saudi Arabia has pledged to contribute 150,000 soldiers and 100 war planes in the operation.

By Andrew V. Pestano
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Yemeni civilians and security forces search for victims at the site of buildings destroyed by Saudi Arabian airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi warplanes launched the attack against the Houthi rebels to slow their advance throughout the country. Photo by Mohammad Abdullah/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/e09f7cf560e916307da874824717a4f8/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Yemeni civilians and security forces search for victims at the site of buildings destroyed by Saudi Arabian airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Saudi warplanes launched the attack against the Houthi rebels to slow their advance throughout the country. Photo by Mohammad Abdullah/UPI | License Photo

SANAA, Yemen, March 26 (UPI) -- At least 18 people have been killed in airstrikes across Sanaa, Yemen, by the Saudi Arabian "Decisive Storm" coalition.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the coalition's actions on Yemen, calling it "military aggression" and demanding all operations to cease.

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Saudi Arabia and several of its Gulf allies believe the Houthi rebels are an Iranian proxy used in an attempt to bolster Iran's power in the country. The Houthis deny receiving Iranian support.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to contribute 150,000 soldiers and 100 war planes to the coalition that includes Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, Pakistan and Egypt -- all of whom have offered fighter jets or naval ships.

RELATED Saudi Arabia launches military operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen

The United States has agreed to an interagency coordination team to offer limited support to the coalition with logistics, intelligence and similar aspects, but no military intervention, the Obama administration has said.

The Saudi coalition has struck military and strategic buildings in Sanaa, including the al-Daylami air base, the international airport in north Sanaa and the presidential complex, which the rebels seized in January.

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Yemen Post editor Hakim Al Masmari said, "People are terrified."

RELATED Houthi rebels in Yemen take partial control of third-largest city, international airport

"It's [bombing] not in any particular location in Sanaa, it's throughout the capital," he told Al-Jazeera.

The military operation "Decisive Storm" was launched Wednesday by Saudi Arabia after the rebels overtook parts of the port city of Aden.

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, told reporters the country is acting to "defend the legitimate government" of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

RELATED U.S. troops being pulled out of Yemen after al-Qaida attacks

Hadi's location remains unclear. A Houthi spokesman said Hadi left on a boat with a Saudi diplomatic team, but there are conflicting reports that say Hadi is still in Aden.

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