After rebel Houthi fighters, backed by Shi'ite Iran, almost overwhelm Yemen, Sunni Saudi Arabia and allies strike back with air power. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and Arab allies struck Shi'ite Muslim rebels fighting to oust Yemen's president on Thursday (March 26), a gamble by the world's top oil exporter to check Iranian influence in its backyard without direct military backing from Washington. Riyadh's rival Iran denounced the assault on the Houthi militia group, which it backs, and made clear the kingdom's deployment of a Sunni coalition against Shi'ite enemies would complicate efforts to end a conflict likely to inflame the sectarian animosities fuelling wars around the Middle East. Warplanes bombed the main airport and the nearby al Dulaimi military air base of the Houthi-held capital Sanaa, residents said, in an apparent attempt to weaken the Houthis' air power and ability to fire missiles. A Reuters witness in the capital said four or five houses near Sanaa airport had been damaged. Rescue workers put the death toll from the air strikes at 13, including a doctor who had been pulled from the rubble of a damaged clinic.