(AA) – France said it supports the Yemeni government and President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi as Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a military operation, including airstrikes, against Houthi sites in Yemen late Wednesday.
The French foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday saying the strikes come “in response to the request of the legitimate authorities of Yemen.”
“France reaffirms its support for the government of Yemen and President Hadi,” said the statement.
It condemned what it called “acts of destabilization” committed by the Houthi militias and urged supporters of the Shiite group to “disassociate immediately and return to the table of political dialogue.”
“Facing this worrying situation, France stands alongside its partners in the region to restore stability and unity of Yemen,” read the statement.
In a joint statement issued earlier Thursday, five Gulf States — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait — said the operation had come “in response to a request by Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to protect Yemen from the aggression of Houthi militias.”
The statement went on to accuse the Houthis of being “the tool of foreign powers that seek to harm Yemen’s security and stability.”
According to Saudi media, warplanes from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan are participating in the anti-Houthi offensive.
Egypt and Pakistan also said they were ready to participate in a ground offensive against the Houthis, the media said.
The United States also said that it was ready to provide logistical and intelligence support for the anti-Houthi campaign.
At least 25 people were killed and 40 others injured in the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemeni capital Sanaa, a Yemeni Health Ministry official said Thursday.
Yemen has been rocked by turmoil since last September, when pro-Houthi forces overran Sanaa, from where they have since sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.
Some Gulf States accuse Shiite Iran of supporting the Houthi insurgency.