Houthis in Yemen
Houthis in Yemen Reuters

A Saudi-led air strike targeting a prison run by Yemen's Houthi rebels killed at least 70 detainees and wounded dozens on Friday, a rebel minister said, according to The Associated Press.

The strike was part of a pounding aerial offensive that hours earlier saw another hit take the Arab world's poorest country off the internet, the report said.

Taha al-Motawakel, health minister in the Houthi government which controls the country's north, told AP in the capital, Sanaa, that 70 detainees were killed at the prison but that he expects the number to rise in the coming hours since many of the wounded were seriously hurt.

Earlier Friday, a Saudi-led air strike in the port city of Hodeida - later confirmed by satellite photos analyzed by the AP - hit a telecommunication center there that's key to Yemen's connection to the internet. Air strikes also hit near Sanaa, held by the Houthis since late 2014.

Doctors Without Borders put the number of wounded alone at "around 200" people.

"From what I hear from my colleague in Saada, there are many bodies still at the scene of the airstrike, many missing people," said Ahmed Mahat, the organization's head of mission in Yemen. "It seems to have been a horrific act of violence."

Friday’s air strikes follow an attack on three oil tankers near Abu Dhabi National Oil Company storage tanks in the Mussafah district near Abu Dhabi this week.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen claimed responsibility for the explosions, Reuters reported, which were apparently the result of drone attacks.

The Houthis and their allies took over large parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, in 2015. A Saudi-led military coalition then intervened in Yemen to try to restore the government.

It has long been believed that Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat.

Iran denies it is backing the Houthis and has also denied Saudi Arabian accusations that Tehran provided the Houthi rebels in Yemen with ballistic capabilities.

Earlier this week, following the attack near Abu Dhabi, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked US Secretary of State Tony Blinken to re-designate the Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization.

President Joe Biden later said his administration is considering agreeing to the UAE request.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)