(Adding residents reports, Houthis acknowledgment and background)

CAIRO, Nov 23 (Reuters) – The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said on Tuesday it is launching air raids on “legitimate” Houthi military targets in the highly condensed capital Sanaa, and asked civilians not to gather around or approach potential targets, Saudi state TV reported.

Violent explosions rocked the northern neighbourhoods of the city following the coalition raids, residents told Reuters.

The raids targeted two military sites, residents added.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia using drones and missiles since the coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the movement ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement said on Saturday it had fired 14 drones at several Saudi Arabian cities, including at Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah.

Houthis acknowledged the raid on a district of northern Sanaa without providing details of casualties or damage.

The coalition added that its raids had destroyed a high-value ballistic-missile target.

The conflict, seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has been in military stalemate for years. The Houthis are pressing an offensive in Marib, the internationally recognised government’s last northern stronghold, as well as in other areas in Yemen. (Reporting by Alaa Swilam and Mohammed ghobari; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates)

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