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RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen destroyed a communications system on Monday used for drone attacks and located near the telecoms ministry in Sanaa, it said in a statement.

Riyadh intervened in the Yemeni civil war in 2015 to support the government against the Houthi rebels, who control a large part of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

"We have destroyed a communication system used to operate drone control stations," the coalition was quoted as saying by the official Saudi news agency SPA.

"The Houthis are using the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology in Sanaa for hostile operations," it added.

An AFP correspondent in Sanaa confirmed coalition air strikes had targeted several areas of the capital around the ministry.

Fighting eases in Yemen's Marib as Saudi-led coalition revamps forces

It was not immediately possible to determine if there were any casualties.

It was the first time the coalition has targeted a civilian ministry, having so far only attacked the defence ministry.

The coalition said the raids were in response to a drone attack Thursday on a Saudi airport near the border which left 12 injured by falling debris after the Saudi military blew up the "bomb-laden" projectile.

The coalition had warned it would strike positions from which the Huthis launch drones in Sanaa and asked civilians to leave civilian areas used for military purposes.

"The Houthis are using state ministries to launch hostile operations," the coalition said.

Yemen's Huthis have frequently launched drone attacks at targets in the kingdom including airports and oil installations.

The conflict has seen an escalation in recent months as the coalition has stepped up anti-Houthi offensives.

For their part, the rebels have also increased attacks on Saudi Arabia and its fellow coalition member the United Arab Emirates.

Yemen's civil war broke out in 2014 when the Huthis seized Sanaa, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to intervene the following year to prop up the internationally recognised government.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed directly or indirectly in the conflict, while millions have been displaced in what the UN calls the world's biggest humanitarian crisis.


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