SANAA (Dispatches) -- Yemeni defense forces on Sunday announced targeting "sensitive” spots in the Saudi capital with a ballistic missile and drones in retaliation for the kingdom’s continuing bombardment of the country.
Military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said the counterattack, codenamed "the 5th Operation of Balanced Deterrence”, began Saturday and lasted until early Sunday.
A Zolfaghar-type ballistic missile and nine Sammad-3 UAVs were used in the operation.
"The retaliatory attack targeted sensitive sites in the enemy’s capital Riyadh,” Yemen’s Al-Masirah television quoted him as saying.
Furthermore, six Qassef K2 drones targeted the Abha airport and the Khamis Mushait area in the southwestern Asir region. "The drones struck their targets with accuracy,” he said.
"Our operations will continue and will expand as long as the aggression and siege on our country continues,” he said.
Saree urged Saudi citizens to stay away from all military sites, facilities, and airfields.
His remarks came as residents and journalists on social media reported hearing multiple loud explosions in the Saudi capital. Some also circulated a video showing the activation of U.S.-made Patriot missile systems. Footage on Saudi state TV showed the night sky lighting up with a bright flash.
The kingdom closed off its airspace to all flights and shut down all of its airports in Riyadh and the port city of Jeddah.
Five civilians, including a child and a woman, were killed in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen’s strategic port city of Hudaydah on Sunday.
A house was hit near the airport in Hudaydah, which is administered by Yemeni fighters opposed to the Saudi invasion.
The Saba news agency said the civilians had died from two Saudi airstrikes.
The attacks come amid heavy fighting in the Ma’rib region as Yemeni defense forces near to liberate the Saudi-backed militants’ last northern stronghold.
Clashes intensified on Saturday, with military sources saying a senior commander loyal to the Saudis identified as General Abdel Ghani Shaalan was among dozens of militants killed.
The Daesh terrorist group openly confirmed this month that its members are fighting alongside Saudi-backed mercenaries against Yemen’s army and forces from popular committees in the province of Ma’rib.
Daesh issued a short statement, saying it has carried out operations against Yemen’s Ansarullah forces in Ma’rib province, killing and wounding a number of the movement’s forces.
A senior Yemeni official said last month that Washington was fighting alongside takfiri terror outfits such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda against Yemen.
The defense forces control most of northern Yemen, with the Saudi-backed mercenaries struggling to keep Marib province, which is 120 km from the capital, Sanaa.
Over the week, major Yemeni tribes have signed non-aggression agreements with advancing Yemeni army troops and allies in Ma’rib.
"Yemeni people are utterly resolute to liberate Ma’rib, no matter how loudly the Saudi-Emirati alliance would cry foul. The liberation of Ma’rib will be achieved by its local residents. Those fighting within the ranks of [the Salafist] Islah Party must renounce violence,” Sheikh Naji al-Masri from Jahm tribe said on Friday.
The Saudi war has claimed at least 233,000 lives, mostly civilians, the UN’s humanitarian office said in December. It has also displaced millions, according to international organizations.