A destroyed house is seen in Sanaa, Yemen, on Thursday. Officials said Friday the Saudi-led coalition launched a series of air raids near the port city of Hudaydah. Photo by Yahya Arhab/EPA-EFE
Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabian and coalition forces carried out airstrikes Friday against factories in Yemen that build remote-controlled boats and sea mines -- in retaliation for attacks on two oil-producing areas last weekend.
Officials said the Saudi coalition targeted an area north of the key port city of Hudaydah, which has been under a U.N. cease-fire since last year. Yemen-based Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the oil infrastructure attacks, condemned the airstrikes as a violation of the cease-fire.
"The concentrated raids on Hudaydah constitutes a dangerous escalation that could blow up the Sweden agreement," Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam tweeted.
The Saudi coalition said the raids were justified because the targets were the source of many Houthi offensives.
"These sites are used to carry out attacks and terrorist operations that threaten shipping lines and international trade in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the southern Red Sea," a coalition spokesman said.
The Saudis have enforced a naval blockade at Hudaydah, where much of the needed food and medical supplies enter the country.
Houthi leaders had warned Riyadh that continued airstrikes against Yemeni civilians would draw a harsh response. The Yemeni civil war has affected about 24 million Yemenis who are in need of humanitarian aid.
The Saudi and U.S. governments have blamed Iran for the Saudi oil attacks. Saudi officials displayed the charred remains of drones and missiles at a news conference this week, which they said prove Tehran's culpability. Iran has denied involvement, and has threatened to respond militarily if it's attacked in retaliation.