US offers support to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen: White House
Iran Press TV
Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:9PM
The United States is supporting Saudi Arabia's military operation in Yemen against the Houthi movement's Ansarullah fighters, according to the White House.
US President Barack Obama authorized the Pentagon to provide logistical and intelligence support to Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement Wednesday.
'While US forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support,' Meehan said.
A US official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia coordinated with the United States ahead of the airstrikes, without elaborating on the kinds of support Washington has provided.
Saudi Arabia's envoy to Washington told reporters his government had consulted closely with the US but Washington was not participating in the military operation itself.
Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and some Arab allies on Thursday bombed the positions of the Ansarullah fighters and launched attacks against the Sana'a airport and the Dulaimi airbase.
The Saudi Press Agency published a joint statement by Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates along with Saudi Arabia saying they would answer a request from fugitive Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi 'to protect Yemen" from the "aggression" of Houthi fighters.
According to the Saudi state-run news agency, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan have 'expressed desire to participate in the operation' against the Houthis, which the kingdom has dubbed 'Firmness Storm.'
On Thursday, US Secretary of State John Kerry commended the work of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, said a senior State Department official.
Kerry held a conference call Thursday with Persian Gulf ministers to discuss the Yemen crisis amid Saudi airstrikes, according to AFP.
The impoverished Arab country of Yemen is currently grappling with a severe political crisis between the central government and Ansarullah fighters.
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