CAIRO: Egypt participated with naval and air forces in the Saudi military operation on the Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen Thursday, a source told Reuters.
Egypt is “coordinating” with Saudi Arabia to participate with air, naval and ground forces to “defend Yemen and bring stability and unity to its territories,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry stated Thursday morning.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his Cabinet were forced to resign in January, however Hadi escaped in February to his home region of Aden where he declared he was still the president, and Aden was the new capital.
Hadi is still recognized as Yemen’s head of state by most countries, including Egypt, which recently invited him to participate in an Arab League summit starting Thursday in Sharm al-Sheikh.
Shokry also expressed Egypt’s “deep concerns” over the situations in Yemen over the past few weeks, describing it as “an attack on the legitimate institutions, and spread of violence and terrorism.”
The operation, named “Resolute Storm,” was ordered by Saudi Monarch Salman bin Abdel Aziz, under the command of Prince Mohamed Salman Bin Abdel-Aziz.
Saudi Arabia stated the strikes came upon a call from President Hadi who asked the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to intervene militarily.
Iranian leadership has been reported in various media to describe the Shiite Houthi takeover as a “revolution,” and the Iranian foreign ministry called Thursday for an immediate halt to all military actions in Yemen, Reuters reported.
Eighteen persons were killed and 24 others were injured in Sanaa from the Saudi airstrikes, reported the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency Thursday.
Saudi Arabia announced through its state news agency no causalities have occurred during the military operation.
Arab Foreign Ministers held a meeting Thursday on the sidelines of the Arab League Summit in Sharm al-Sheikh. The meeting followed the Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin called Wednesday for military interference.
EgyptAir has suspended all flights to Yemen’s capital Sanaa indefinitely following the airstrikes. Saudi Arabia and its allies’ airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthis, according to a statement from the company.
The suspension follows a Saudi statement asserting that Yemeni airspace is a no-fly zone. Restricting foreign airspace generally requires a United Nations Security Council resolution, which Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi requested on March 23.