The Latest: Yemenis report Saudi-led coalition airstrikes
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):
Residents in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa are saying there has been a wave of airstrikes that have hit targets in the city this morning, including a residential house. They say there are casualties, including civilians.
The residents say the airstrikes started early on Thursday, with coalition jets bombing military sites belonging to the rebel Houthis who have been at war with the coalition since 2015.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
On Wednesday, Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launched a coordinated drone attack on a critical oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s biggest rival in the region. It was the latest incident to shake global energy markets.
—Ahmed Al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen;
The Qatar-funded satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera says that Doha is trying to “defuse escalating tensions” across the Persian Gulf.
Al-Jazeera cited an anonymous official on Wednesday night as saying that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had traveled to Tehran in recent days to speak with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Al-Jazeera said the U.S. was aware of the trip in advance, but did not elaborate further. FlightRadar24.com, a flight-tracking website, showed a Qatari government airplane landed in Tehran on Saturday.
Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of the U.S. military’s Central Command at its vast Al-Udeid Air Base. Several of the B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to the region amid the latest escalation between Washington and Tehran are stationed there.
Qatar has grown closer to Iran diplomatically amid it begin boycotted by four Arab nations over a political dispute.
Iran’s foreign minister says his country is committed to an international nuclear deal but that the escalating U.S. sanctions are “unacceptable.”
The remarks come amid rising tensions in the Mideast, with allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, a drone attack by Yemen’s Iranian-allied rebels and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif told Japanese officials on Thursday in Tokyo that his country’s response to the U.S. actions is within the frameworks of the current nuclear deal and Iran’s rights.
Iran recently threatened to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the level permitted by the current one between Tehran and world powers. The U.S. pulled out of the deal last year.