Saudi Royal Air Force Intercepts Houthi Missile over Najran

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Since then, a Saudi-led, USA -backed coalition supporting the largely exiled government has blockaded the rebel-held north and waged a devastating air campaign, causing thousands of deaths.

The airstrikes in Sanaa came days after a USA call for an urgent halt to the Saudi-Iran proxy war in Yemen and the start of negotiations in November toward a political settlement of the conflict.

The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen's government said on Friday it had attacked an air base in the rebel-held capital Sanaa, while rebels and pro-government forces clashed in the port city of Hodeidah to the west. The war has left almost 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The United States and Britain have called for an end to the war that has driven the impoverished country to the brink of starvation.

The US and United Nations have called for a ceasefire and proposed to convene peace talks in Sweden to end Yemen's three-and-half years war.

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Calling the attacked structures "legitimate military targets", Col Al Malki said he would provide evidence of violations by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels later on Friday. In the course of this, he demanded an end to fighting, and an immediate halt to all airstrikes against populated areas.

The conflict in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country and home to an estimated 28 million people, began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Houthi rebels, who toppled the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A previous attempt to take the city in June ran into difficulties and was halted ahead of United Nations -led peace consultations in Geneva which collapsed in September after the Houthis failed to show up.

The coalition sent reinforcements to the west coast on Tuesday for a new assault on Hodeida - a strategic port on the Red Sea - according to Yemeni military officials. "More than half" of the 14 million people, at serious risk of starvation in the impoverished country, are children, Cappelaere told AFP.

Despite a high-profile modernisation drive aimed at improving Saudi Arabia's image and attracting foreign investment, rights groups have detailed a crackdown on activists, increase in executions and discrimination against the Shiite minority.