CAIRO -- The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said Sunday that it had launched a new air campaign on the country's capital and other provinces, in retaliation for missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.
"The targeting of civilians and civilian facilities is a red line," Col. Turki al-Maliki, a spokesman for the coalition, was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency. He was referring to the missile and drone strikes on Saudi cities in recent weeks that the Iranian-backed rebels known as Houthis had claimed.
"The terrorist leaders will be held accountable," he said. Residents in Sanaa, Yemen's rebel-held capital, reported hearing huge explosions as a round of bombs fell on the city Sunday.
U.S. diplomats in Saudi Arabia issued warnings to Americans in the kingdom, urging them to "stay alert in case of additional future attacks."
The Houthi-run al-Masirah satellite TV channel reported at least seven airstrikes on the Sanaa districts of Attan and al-Nahda. Al-Masirah did not say what facilities were hit, but back smoke was seen rising over military camps in the areas. The channel also reported an airstrike in the district of Bajil, in the province of Hodeida.
The coalition said the Houthis were encouraged by a decision of President Joe Biden's administration last month to remove them from the U.S.' terror list. The designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization was announced in the waning days of former President Donald Trump's administration and caused an outcry from the United Nations and humanitarian groups working in Yemen.
While the Houthi attacks rarely cause damage or casualties, strikes on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, have shaken energy markets and the world economy.
The coalition also said it intercepted and destroyed at least 12 explosives-laden drones and two ballistic missiles the rebels fired at Saudi Arabia on Sunday. On Thursday, the Houthis said they launched a drone attack on an oil facility in the port city of Jiddah. Another ballistic missile attack last week reached as far as the capital, Riyadh, where it was intercepted and exploded in the sky, scattering shrapnel over the city.
Later Sunday, Saudi aviation authorities resumed air traffic to Jiddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport, after a nine-hour suspension because of alleged Houthi missile and drone attacks in the area.
Yehia Sarie, a Houthi military spokesman, said their air defenses Sunday downed a Turkish-made drone launched by Saudi Arabia's air force over the northern province of Jawf. There was no acknowledgement from Saudi Arabia, and the rebels did not provide evidence to support their claim.
Sunday's airstrikes on Sanaa have come as the Houthis continue their weekslong offensive on the central province of Marib, in an attempt to retake it from the internationally recognized government. They have faced stiff resistance and suffered heavy casualties without making progress. Hundreds of people were killed in the Marib clashes.
There have been also clashes in the province of Taiz.
The conflict in Yemen broke out nearly six years ago, after the Houthis swept into the capital and seized much of the country's north. A Saudi-led military coalition launched a bombing campaign to dislodge them and restore the internationally recognized government.
The stalemated war was has killed about 130,000 people, including more than 12,000 civilians, pushed millions to the brink of famine and spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Information for this article was contributed by Isabel DeBre of The Associated Press.